The Red Devils were trailing by a single goal in Saturday’s Manchester derby with just over 10 minutes left when Fernandes’ controversial equaliser was allowed. Marcus Rashford was clearly offside in the build-up to the goal, and ran towards the ball and seemed to influence the City defence, although Rashford didn’t actually touch it.
Instead, Fernandes, who was onside, came inside and stroked the ball past Ederson. After a brief VAR pause, the goal was deemed legal, much to the fury of the City players. Minutes later and Rashford netted a second to hand United the win, which moves the Red Devils to within just a point of City.
But asked about the controversial first goal after the game, Guardiola seemed to imply that the referees were influenced by the fact the game was being held at Old Trafford. “Rashford is offside, Bruno Fernandes is not offside,” the City boss said in his post-match press conference.
“The question is [did he] intervene in the action? When a player in the 18-yard box shoots and one player is in front of the keeper and doesn’t touch the ball, intervene or not, it is offside. The decision is for the referee and the VAR if Rashford influences our central defender, makes a line, if not Bruno Fernandes, we follow the action.
“After the action then Eddy might intervene. But this is the decision in this stadium with the referee and the VAR.
“Manu Akanji sees offside and he stops,” Guardiola added. “If he knows that, he is going to make more effort, is going to go back with him, do the duel one against one and after we see what happens.
“But it is a decision for the referee. It is one player behind the line, in line for the keeper. But no intervention in this stadium, it is ok, they have to do what they have to do. Are we going to complain? No. Congratulations to them and sometimes it happens on our side.”
Asked if Old Trafford affected the officials’ decision making, Guardiola replied: “The decision is they didn’t believe Rashford was intervening in this stadium. This is Old Trafford, we have to play much better, like Anfield, we have to do better.”