Man City's Guardiola defends Mendy after COVID protocol breach

RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT

VIDEO SHOWS: MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER, PEP GUARDIOLA SPEAKING AT NEWS CONFERENCE, FILE FOOTAGE OF BENJAMIN MENDY, KYLE WALKER, GABRIEL JESUS AND THE ETIHAD STADIUM

SHOWS:

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JANUARY 3, 2021) (CITY TV - ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER, PEP GUARDIOLA, SAYING:

"No, no he (Benjamin Mendy) is part of the group, he's one of good guys, he's much beloved in our group. In the stands today he was the more active player alongside Fernandinho and the other ones. So, he's a special guy for all of us, his passion, he has an incredible heart. I would like to see how many people like judge him if they have the good intentions and the heart that he has. But he has to understand somethings. He was… OK, he invited two, three people on New Year's Eve; a cooker and real friends for his girlfriend. Like all of them was negative, tested negative but you know they had spies in house and what happened happened but I would like to know how many people were more than five or six people at home in this New Year's Eve. I'm pretty sure many but normally in this society we judge the other ones and this society would be better in the first we just judge ourselves. If we do what you have to do this is correct but saying that I'm pretty sure Benji is going to improve on this and next time he would be more careful."

2. WHITE FLASH

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER, PEP GUARDIOLA, SAYING:

"No, no I'm not justifying; he broke the rules, he broke the rules, so he cannot do it, he cannot do it; absolutely not, absolutely not. I do not justify. But don't give too much lessons to the other ones, you know. In society always we judge the other one to give lessons to the other ones and not put examples for the players, football players a big example for the Society. Society there are big examples; everyone at home; our fathers, mothers our people do what you have to do. Of course, it was not correct what he has done but don't judge him much because if you look at himself what we have done on New Year's Eve for many, many, many people so maybe I've done the same. So, it's easy no? To judge the other ones, you know, to express what you have for the other ones. If everyone put the demanding intentions for the other ones the same for ourselves everything would be better."

REPORTER, SAYING (OFF CAMERA): "Yes, I mean there is a there is an argument maybe that footballers being so high profile do need to accept they have to live a slightly different life to everybody else…"

"I'm not agree. I'm not agree with this because only exceptional we do our job. We appear more in the social media or here and making this interview right now but I don't think in the football players are more important than a doctor and NHS people or an architect or a teacher in the school for my kids, why we are more important than the other ones I don't think so. So, I have the same responsibility than another person in the world, in the UK and of course I have to follow the rules and I always said as a club many times to the club, to the players to follow the rules, social distance, mask and everything because the virus is here and everything that but you know that. (INAUDIBLE) In lockdown, the government have to say what we have to do. Saying this, I'm not justifying Mendy. Mendy knows he made a big mistake but it's finished here. So, a part of this, he has to learn from that and everyone (should) look (at) ourselves better than judge the other ones."

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - SEPTEMBER 30, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

4. VARIOUS OF BENJAMIN MENDY AT TRAINING

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - FEBRUARY 25, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

5. MENDY JUMPING THROUGH CHAIN OF PLAYERS WHO HIT HIM ON HIS WAY THROUGH

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (DECEMBER 8, 2020) (UEFA - NO RESALES. NO COMMERCIAL USE. MUST ON-SCREEN COURTESY "©UEFA 2020")

6. MANCHESTER CITY DEFENDER, KYLE WALKER PASSING BALL WITH TEAM MATE, KEVIN DE BRUYNE

7. MANCHESTER CITY STRIKER, GABRIEL JESUS (YELLOW BIB) STRETCHING BEFORE DOING RUNNING DRILL

8. MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER, PEP GUARDIOLA (WOOLLY HAT) SPEAKING WITH ASSISTANT COACH

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - JUNE 7, 2020) (CITY TV - DO NOT OBSCURE LOGO)

9. JESUS WITH HANDS ON HIPS AT TRAINING SESSION

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - FEBRUARY 19, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

10. MANCHESTER CITY'S ETIHAD STADIUM

11. ETIHAD STADIUM SIGN

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - MAY 20, 2020) (UK POOL - ACCESS ALL)

12. AERIAL OF MANCHESTER CITY'S ETIHAD STADIUM

STORY: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has defended Benjamin Mendy after the full back breached COVID protocols on New Year's Eve, saying the Frenchman's critics were too quick to pass judgment.

Mendy apologised for flouting rules by hosting a party attended by at least three people outside his household. Under British government guidelines, those living in regions with Tier 4 restrictions are not allowed to mix with others outside their own household.

"Normally in this society we judge, but society will be better if we judge ourselves. I'm not justifying him; he broke the rules. But don't give too many lessons to the other ones," Guardiola told reporters after Sunday's (January 3) 3-1 win over Chelsea.

His comments come after some current and former players lambasted Mendy and other Premier League players for failing to act as role models and argued that clubs needed to be stronger and hand out punishments.

Guardiola said footballers should not be held to higher standards because they are viewed as role models.

"They have the same responsibility as everyone else. Mendy knows he made a big mistake, but it finishes here."

Mendy was an unused substitute in the game at Chelsea. City were without Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus, Ferran Torres and goalkeeper Ederson due to positive COVID tests.

(Production: Tim Hart)