Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has agreed with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Man City commit tactical fouls and also believes that Fernandinho 'in particular, is guilty of these cynical fouls'.
Ahead of Wednesday's potentially title deciding Manchester derby the United manager caused a stir when he claimed that City avoid bookings for tactical fouls.
The Norwegian said that City 'will snap at your ankles and heels and kick you' in order to stop teams counter attacking them and then suggested that the players get away with appropriate punishment.
"You don’t get the yellow cards, do you?" Solskjaer said. "But that’s just because they commit so many players forward and you can clearly see that they've got them in that mould of trying to win the ball back, and they do make fouls."
Pep Guardiola took umbrage with his counterpart's comments claiming they were in attempt to influence the referee for the clash, Andre Marriner, and said he has never told any player he has ever managed to commit fouls.
"That’s the reason why, of course," Guardiola said when asked if he was worried the comments would influence Marriner.
"I never prepare a game in 10 seasons as a manager thinking about these kind of things. Never," he said.
"The players can talk about it better than me, the players I had at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here, one of the targets is about the counter attacks for the opponents making fouls, never have I said [to] one player to make fouls to avoid something for the other ones."
The stats would back Guardiola up, as City commit the fewest fouls per game in the Premier League, but former referee Clattenburg has taken Solskjaer's side.
"I have seen Solskjaer’s comments about City using tactical fouls to disrupt play when they lose possession, and he has a point," Clattenburg wrote for the Daily Mail.
"They break at such speed and are so expansive that they are left exposed when they lose the ball.
"City midfielder Fernandinho, in particular, is guilty of these cynical fouls. But then so are all teams in certain situations. Look at United — Nemanja Matic is similar to Fernandinho in that he breaks up play through whatever means he can, that’s his job.
"As a referee you are aware of this but you will ignore the pre-match comments, they have no bearing on how you handle the game."