Football

Pep peeved

Guardiola exits press con after being quizzed about replacing Hodgson as England boss

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola walked out of a press conference yesterday after being asked about reports linking him with the England manager's job.

The Catalan's contract with the Bavarian giants is up for renewal next summer and he has been keen to avoid the subject, repeating that he does not wish to talk about his future.

Speculation has linked him with a move to Manchester City, while it was being suggested yesterday that he is being lined up as the successor to Roy Hodgson.

When pressed on that subject at his weekly pre-match press conference ahead of Bayern's trip to Mainz today, Guardiola rose from his seat and bade farewell.

"Oh come on, I'm coach of Bayern Munich," he said.

"Many thanks and auf wiedersehen."

The question about whether he would be interested in taking charge of the Three Lions after Euro 2016 proved to be the final straw for the 44-year-old, who had already deflected an initial enquiry into his future plans with a polite "next question, please".

Guardiola has led Bayern to back-to-back Bundesliga titles yet he questioned at the start of this, his third season in charge, whether he was indeed the right man for the job.

He said he would step down if he ever got the feeling somebody else would be a better choice for the club, fuelling speculation he is preparing his departure from Bavaria next summer.

Bayern have also recently cooled talk of extending Guardiola's contract, saying negotiations will be held as and when the former Barcelona coach is ready.

Meanwhile, Guardiola's former club are hoping to bounce back from their midweek 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Celta Vigo when Las Palmas visit the Nou Camp tonight.

HEAVIEST DEFEAT

Barca's 100 per cent start to the league campaign was brought to a spectacular end on Wednesday as high-flying Celta inflicted upon them their heaviest league defeat since 2008.

Luis Enrique's men slipped down to fifth in the process, yet they have an immediate opportunity to move back to the top of the table for a few hours at least tonight with Real Madrid, Celta, Villarreal and Atletico Madrid all in action later in the day.

"Any position that isn't first is not what we want," Luis Enrique said yesterday.

"In the dressing room, we hope that the defeat in Vigo will serve as a stimulant to get back to winning ways and makes us realise how hard it is to win in this league."

Worryingly, Barca were almost back to full strength in Vigo, as Gerard Pique made his first league appearance of the season after serving a four-match ban.

"It is clear that we need to improve defensively, but that doesn't just mean the defence and the goalkeeper, it means all 11 players on the field must defend better," added Enrique.

- Wire Services.

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