PEP GUARDIOLA called Manchester City a ‘happy flowers club’ after their win over Tottenham on Thursday night.
And the Etihad chief was certainly no shrinking violet as he made his feelings known about the attitude of his players and the fans.
It left fans of City’s rivals wondering if – and no doubt hoping – this could be the beginning of the end of Pep’s seven year stay in England.
One of their old favourites Micah Richards even admitted the manager seemed like a man ‘at the end of his tether’.
It appears everything is not rosy in the garden – but any supporters who would like to see the back of the former Barcelona coach shouldn’t get too excited just yet.
Sure, it was a puzzling outburst from the 52-year-old – just over a day after he had said he himself was to blame for his team’s recent mini-slump.
His team selection was another head-scratcher as he left talisman midfielder Kevin de Bruyne on the bench as well as his two senior, recognised full-backs Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo.
Yet – in the end – that proved to be a gamble that paid off for Guardiola with his team storming back to beat Spurs with four second half goals.
And he will hope his decision to go public with some his grievances about players and fans being ‘too comfortable’ will pay dividends too ahead of a key run of fixtures.
With a fully fit squad to choose from currently, he knows he can afford to rattle a few cages among his list of superstars and still have the quality in reserve to step in.
Several of the players who went deep into the World Cup have struggled to recapture their form and fitness since they returned just before Christmas.
And he has known since the summer that hunger could be an issue for a group of players who have won four of the last five titles.
After all, there’s a reason nobody has managed three in a row since Alex Ferguson did it across town between 1998-2001.
As for his dig at the City fans, that is nothing new. The booing of his team at half-time – after everything they have achieved in recent years – clearly irked him.
But he often throws the challenge down for them to turn out in numbers and turn up the volume and generally gets a response.
Guardiola won’t be going anywhere just yet – don’t forget he only signed a two year contract extension two months ago.
It was only this week that he pointed out how he feels so settled at City because he is surrounded by his mates in the boardroom.
A clearly wound-up Pep said on Thursday he has no interest in being a ‘happy flower’ – but don’t be surprised to see him come up smelling of roses in May.