Pep Guardiola believes football managers are treated worse “than the worst in society” amid a culture of online abuse, as he urged Steve Bruce to ignore the “bullshit” from strangers and remember the praise from those who know him.
Bruce has said he may retire, citing the toll insults have taken on his family, after leaving Newcastle and Guardiola’s former assistant Mikel Arteta has voiced concern that a climate of vitriol will deter potential managers from a career in coaching.
Guardiola insists he still loves the job and said part of his coping strategy was to avoid social media, where he believes bile has been normalised, as he railed against the notion that one man is to blame for every setback.
“We are incredibly criticised, more than the worst in society, just for not winning games,” the Manchester City manager said. “Sometimes the managers are treated worse than the worst but it is sometimes a reflection of society. On social media, everyone is accepted to say terrible things.
“Steve Bruce and all the managers want to do all the best. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but no one deserves to be treated like that. People see the manager in front of the media every three days so they believe we are responsible. I understand as a boy that if I am good it is because my mates help me to be good.”
A rare social-media post that Guardiola saw was from Allan Saint-Maximin when the Newcastle winger called Bruce “a man of your word, a caring man and a fair man”. It tallied with Guardiola’s own feelings and he added: “This for me is what Steve Bruce is: an exceptional gentleman. He always took care of me so nicely when I came from Catalonia. I wish him all the best and I would tell him: ‘Don’t pay attention to the comments as they are bullshit.’
“But he has not to be worried, because the people who know him quite well, that is what is important. The players know what Steve is. I wish him to come back soon because he has the love for football in his blood.”