Pep Guardiola is 'SCANDALOUS' to suggest refs are biased at Old Trafford, says ex-official

Pep Guardiola, manager of Manchester City looks dejected during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on January 14, 2023 in Manchester, England.
(Image credit: Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is "scandalous" to imply that refs favour Manchester United at Old Trafford.

That's according to former official Graham Poll, who has weighed in on the controversial derby day goal that Bruno Fernandes was allowed to score for the home team, despite Marcus Rashford straying offside. Poll agrees that it should have counted, by the way.

In the aftermath of the game, Citizens chief Guardiola said his side, "Played a good game" while admitting, "This is Old Trafford," and "We know where we’re playing and we know what happens here" about the contentious equaliser his team conceded.

Graham Poll says Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is out of line with his comments, following Manchester United's goal

Bruno Fernandes equalises for Manchester United against Manchester City and the goal is awarded despite Marcus Rashford being in an offside position.

Bruno Fernandes equalises for Manchester United against Manchester City and the goal is awarded despite Marcus Rashford being in an offside position (Image credit: Getty Images)

"It’s scandalous to suggest that," Poll responded, speaking to CasinosEnLigne (opens in new tab). "You’ve got the most decorated and recognised assistant referee [Darren Cann].

"He doesn’t care where he’s doing the game. They give what they believe is the correct decision, not the most obvious or easiest decision. In their absolute heart of hearts they believe the decision they’ve made is correct and you have to admire the cojones of making that decision even if they know they’ll get flack for it."

Poll, perhaps most famous for showing three yellow cards (opens in new tab) to the same player at World Cup 2006, was an English representative at two World Cups and Euro 2000. He also reffed the 2005 UEFA Cup Final. On BT Sport at the time, studio analyst Peter Walton agreed that the goal should have counted – and now Poll has agreed with the decision that Rashford was not offside.

Manchester City players Riyad Mahrez and Manuel Akanji protest with the assistant referee after Manchester United's equaliser in the derby at Old Trafford.

Manchester City players Riyad Mahrez and Manuel Akanji protest with the assistant referee after Manchester United's equaliser in the derby at Old Trafford (Image credit: Getty Images)

"It hinges on whether he is affecting the opponents with his positioning," Poll declared. "I can argue from my perspective that he doesn’t. I know Manuel Akanji said he stopped to play Rashford offside. Well that’s a mistake by Akanji not Darren Cann or Michael Oliver because the ball could’ve got swept 10 yards further left and then Rashford’s position is irrelevant so that’s a red herring for me.

"You can’t argue that Ederson is affected by Rashford approaching at the angle that he's bearing down on goal from. I don't believe that a referee, who is totally engrossed in refereeing, would necessarily look at that at the time. If I had been refereeing I'd like it to have been given offside and if under review VAR said to rule it out I'd have said, that's fine thank you very much."

Poll also criticised Mikel Arteta for his touchline antics during the North London Derby.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.