Pep Guardiola insisted that he would not make "a Mikel Arteta comment" by criticising the referee following late drama in Manchester City's 3-3 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Arsenal boss Arteta was charged by the Football Association following the Gunners' 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United in early November after describing the decision to award Anthony Gordon's goal as "embarrassing" and an "absolute disgrace" in a post-match rant.
Guardiola opted against taking a similar approach after Man City's Jack Grealish was denied a clear run through on goal late in the game against Spurs when referee Simon Hooper controversially blew his whistle for a foul on Erling Haaland after briefly playing advantage.
The decision sparked an angry response from several Man City players and the Etihad faithful, but the hosts eventually had to settle for a point in an entertaining contest with Ange Postecoglou's side, who scored a 90th-minute equaliser through Dejan Kulusevski.
Responding to questions about the late refereeing drama, Guardiola seemingly took a swipe at his former assistants Arteta, telling Sky Sports: "Next question. I will not do a Mikel Arteta comment.
"It is hard when you review the image, the referee decides to blow the whistle after he has already said to play on. After the pass, the whistle, so I do not understand this action."
"It was a good game, that is the most important thing," Guardiola added. "It was a pity, same as the Liverpool game, I had the feeling that today that we made an incredible performance in all departments, against a really good team and manager and how they play.
"We created a lot of chances, we were aggressive, incredibly concentrated, and the feeling is that we still want to be there [at the top of the table].
"It is a pity. Sometimes football is like life, you do not get what you deserve."
In a separate post-match interview with Match of the Day, Guardiola said: "Sometimes I lose my mind about the referees, but here no. Always people can make mistakes.
"It surprised me for the fact that he went to whistle when Erling went down, after he stood back up and made the pass so the referee made the gesture to play on. But then when the ball goes to Jack, then the whistle. That makes you think *gasps argh*.
"If in the right moment when Erling went down he whistled then you say 'ok', but whistling after saying play on... I don't know. It was a good game, everyone enjoyed it. Spurs are so happy, we are less so. Next on to Villa Park for the next game and to go again."
Haaland, who had to be restrained at the full time, has since taken to social media to vent his frustration at Hooper's decision, attaching a video of the incident to a post on 'X' with the caption "Wtf".
The enthralling contest began with two goals scored by Tottenham captain Son Heung-min at either end inside the first eight minutes, before Phil Foden put Man City in front just after the half-hour mark.
After the break, Giovani Lo Celso scored his second goal in as many games to level the score at 2-2, before Grealish came off the substitutes' bench to net what looked like to be the match-winner nine minutes from time, only for Kulusevski to restore parity for Spurs with a late header.
Man City have drawn each of their last three Premier League games and have subsequently slipped to third in the table, one point behind Liverpool in second and three adrift of leaders Arsenal, while Tottenham sit three points behind the Citizens in fifth place.No Data Analysis info