Pep Guardiola has defended Sergio Aguero after the Manchester City star grabbed Sian Massey-Ellis around the shoulder during his side’s win over Arsenal.
The striker put his hand around Massey-Ellis’ neck after a brief exchange of words about her decision to award the Gunners a throw-in.
The 35-year-old Coventry school teacher didn’t take too kindly to Aguero’s attentions and pushed his arm away.
Massey-Ellis opted not to draw referee Chris Kavanagh’s attention to the incident and the man with the whistle opted to take no action.
VAR official Stuart Attwell also saw no need to become involved.
But while Aguero’s reaction could not be described as violent, players risk being shown a red card if they deliberately make physical contact with match officials.
Asked about the incident after the match, City boss Guardiola said: “Hey, come on guys. Come on guys. Sergio is the nicest person I ever met in my life.
“We can look at the problems in other situations but not in this one. Come on.”
The Premier League warned they would clamp down on players who disrespected officials this season.
Aguero, 33, who played 65 minutes on his return from a four-month injury record, has a good disciplinary record and has only been sent off once in the Premier League in nine seasons at the Etihad.
Guardiola was delighted after Aguero made his first appearance of the season.
“We are incredibly happy he is back – for him, for all of us,” said the manager in quotes reported by Metro.
“It was four months – still he is away from his condition, but he got 55, 60 minutes, that is good, and Wednesday we have another game.
“So yeah it’s important to have him. We need his goals, his performance, and it’s good he’s back.”
City begin their Champions League campaign on Wednesday when Porto visit the Etihad.