Pep Guardiola on Man City fans' claims derby ref Anthony Taylor supports Man Utd

Pep Guardiola does not share the fears of Manchester City fans about derby referee Anthony Taylor.

Taylor will controversially be in charge of Sunday’s 177th meeting of the Manchester clubs , even though he was born in nearby Wythenshawe.

The 40-year-old whistler has declared himself to be a season-ticket holder at National League club Altrincham with the PGMOL group responsible for appointing match officials.

But many City fans have taken to social media to claim that Taylor is a secret United supporter who does not want to rule himself out of officiating in the Premier League’s biggest games.

Blues boss Guardiola has also had high-profile problems with Taylor in the past, but he said: “Mr Taylor is from Manchester, but do people know the team he supports? Altrincham. So no problem.

“He is going to try to do the best job, like we try as managers and football players. Mr Taylor is going to try and make a good game.

Local lad Taylor sends off Fabian Delph in City’s FA Cup loss to Wigan last season
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)

“The important thing is to focus on our game and knowing which opponent we are going to face. That is all.

Hopefully the officials can make good decisions for both sides and it is a good game. All of England and all of Europe is going to watch us. That is the most important pleasure.

“The referee doesn’t want to make a mistake. He knows everyone from around the world is going to watch him and he doesn’t want to make a mistake, that is pretty sure. But, if he is fan of United or City, everyone can be a fan of whoever he wants, so no problem.”

Jose Mourinho was fined £50,000 by the FA for calling into question Taylor’s suitability to referee United’s visit to Liverpool in October 2016 when he suggested the whistleblower would be under too much pressure at Anfield because of his Manchester roots.

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Taylor, who is affiliated to the Cheshire FA, became a Premier League referee in 2010 and became a FIFA-listed official three years later.

He has not officiated at the Etihad since December 2016, when he dismissed both Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho in City’s 3-1 defeat to Chelsea, having earlier failed to punish David Luiz for halting Aguero when the striker was bursting clear on goal.

Last season, Taylor angered Guardiola again when he showed Fabian Delph a straight red card in City’s shock FA Cup defeat at Wigan.

City have failed to win almost 40% of the 12 Premier League games they have played with Taylor in charge. He has refereed United 20 times, with the Reds racking up a win percentage of 70%.

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