Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was careful not to label Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho a bad loser as the fallout from Sunday's Manchester derby dominated the build-up to the Premier League's midweek fixtures.
Goals from David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi gave City a 2-1 win over their neighbours, opening up a 11-point gap at the top of the table.
A 14th consecutive win within the same Premier League season meant Guardiola's men set a new competition record, but an alleged incident that took place outside the away dressing room after full-time has since commanded much of the attention.
According to multiple reports, Mourinho confronted City's players after perceiving their noisy celebrations to be disrespectful, prompting a melee featuring members of both teams.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday's trip to struggling Swansea City, Guardiola would not be drawn on the conduct of a man with whom he famously clashed when they were in charge of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
With their Manchester detente seemingly at an end, Guardiola was asked whether he thought Mourinho was a bad loser and quickly replied: "I didn't say that. Why don’t you go to Old Trafford and ask him about that?
"Always, I said I would not say one comment about what they did. I will say what we did after game and the players know exactly.
"What the others did, I'm sorry guys, I am not the guy to answer."
9 – Jose Mourinho has lost more matches in all competitions against Pep Guardiola than versus any other manager. Foe. pic.twitter.com/jMleQQnIL6— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 10, 2017
Both clubs have been asked by the Football Association for their observations on an incident not seen by referee Michael Oliver and, therefore, not featured in his report on the match.
Although he would not address any individual at United, neither Mourinho or any member of his playing staff, Guardiola did apologise to the club as a whole if any offence was caused.
"Our intention was not that [to upset United]. Our intention was to celebrate inside the locker room our happiness, because we were happy," he said.
"If people can't understand that then I am sorry. We were so happy, we won a derby and wanted to celebrate in the locker room.
"If in that we offend Man United – not just one player, not Jose, not the players – Man United, I apologise.
"Sometimes Manchester United in the past made a lot of celebrations at Manchester City. It's part of everything. Sometimes the managers celebrate and we exceed a little bit.
"But I think in this case – on the pitch and after the game – it didn't happen. We went to the locker room and tried to celebrate in there because I encourage my players to do that. We have to enjoy that moment.
"If we lose, we have to be sad. We have to be angry so it doesn't happen again in the next game. That is all we live and that explains what happened."
When it's another double-matchday week! pic.twitter.com/3xjHbQzu1C— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 12, 2017
Mourinho was reluctant to discuss any aspect of Sunday's post-match events, cryptically referring to "a question of diversity; diversity in behaviours, diversity in education" between the two camps. Before the game he accused City's players of diving and persistent tactical fouling.
But, far from seeing any element of City's collective spirit as unbecoming, Guardiola feels it is as much a cause of their incredible run than any tactical masterplan he crafts.
"It is impossible to achieve 14 games in a row just playing football, just with tactics. Forget it," he added.
"How we watch the Champions League draw all together, how we celebrate after the games – not just the players who play, but how involved the players who don't play are – that is the basis to create something in the club.
"If both [tactics and spirit] can be together you are a stronger team and on the field you keep fighting."
|It´s a good time for Iniesta to leave Barca, says father|
|Athletics´ Manaea no-hits Red Sox, Darvish struggles once again|
|Pelicans reach second round, 76ers take 3-1 lead and T-Wolves down Rockets|
|MLS Review: Five-star LAFC, Dynamo headline goal frenzy as Atlanta silence Ibra´s Galaxy|
|Busch pulls away to claim third successive NASCAR win|
|Sanchez hails legendary Wenger ahead of Arsenal exit|
|Valverde: Nothing behind Iniesta substitution amid growing CSL links|
|White Sox´s Farquhar in critical condition after brain haemorrhage|
|Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day DL|
|Hoffenheim boss Nagelsmann dismisses Arsenal and Chelsea links|
|Johnson, Landry tied for Texas lead as Mullinax sets course record|
|Gattuso, Mirabelli apologise to Milan fans after ´embarrassing´ Benevento loss|
|Marquez to start fourth after being stripped of Austin pole|
|Iniesta to make decision on his future public ´this week´|
|United want to win everything next year, says Wembley hero Sanchez|
|Cardiff edge Forest to boost promotion push|
|Bartomeu confirms Iniesta has an ´offer´ amid Chinese Super League reports|
|Messi second player to score in five Copa finals|
|Khan makes up for lost time with 40-second Lo Greco knockout|
|Mourinho challenges Alexis after Wembley star turn|
|Vieira ready for Arsenal job, says Guardiola|
|FA Cup win would represent successful season - Conte|
|Guardiola: I want Manchester City to be a Premier League machine|
|Marquez crashes before taking controversial pole in Austin|
|Sevilla 0 Barcelona 5: Suarez and Messi lead crushing Copa final win|
|Defending champion Selby dumped out in first round|
|AC Milan 0 Benevento 1: Rossoneri suffer again as bottom side stave off relegation...for now|
|Ulster stay alive in dramatic fashion as Bellini sparkles for Zebre|
|Semi-final pain for frustrated Kane|
|London stay was crucial to FA Cup Wembley win - Mourinho|
|Pochettino: Spurs need four more years – with me or another|
|Kaepernick honoured with Amnesty International award|
|He has not delivered optimal performances - Stoger explains Schmelzer omission|
|Kvitova and Pliskova put Czechs in control|
|Modric open to Ibrahimovic union in MLS|
|Spurs can´t keep doing this – Alli|
|Bulls keep Rebels waiting for South Africa win, Sharks beat Stormers|
|Heynckes highlights importance of ´psychology´ before Real Madrid clash|
|United are about winning titles and playing finals, says happy Herrera|
|Pogba and United the comeback kings again|
|Destructive De Villiers demolishes Daredevils|
|Giroud thanks Wenger for making his ´dream come true´|
|Borussia Dortmund 4 Bayer Leverkusen 0: Reus and Sancho star as Stoger´s side go third|
|Manchester United 2 Tottenham 1: Sanchez and Herrera seal comeback to book FA Cup final spot|
|Zaha´s no diver, insists Hodgson|
|Quiros maintains one-shot lead in Rabat|
|Championship Review: Wolves win title, Sunderland relegated|
|Nishikori fights back to reach Monte Carlo final|
|´Nothing compared to that night´ - Masters victory left Allen feeling flat|
|Imperious Leinster ease into Champions Cup final|
|Wilson backs Wenger for international role|
|West Brom comeback branded ´useless´ by Klopp|
|Injured Kyrgios doubtful for French Open|
|Packers QB Aaron Rodgers ventures into ownership, buys stake in NBA´s Bucks|
|Lewandowski breaks Bundesliga record in Bayern Munich victory|
|Watford 0 Crystal Palace 0: Stalemate edges both sides closer to survival|
|Inter not inferior to Roma and Lazio, Spalletti insists|
|Pogba and Sanchez start for Manchester United at Wembley|
|Gayle fires Kings XI to the top of the table|
|Klopp applauds Ings´ performance|
|Hannover 0 Bayern Munich 3: Lewandowski breaks Bundesliga record|
|Livermore urges West Brom to ´keep fighting´ as relegation looms|
|Eagles give QB Nick Foles a pay rise after Super Bowl win|
|Klopp blames ´dry pitch´ and referee for West Brom draw|
|Cardiff Blues book Challenge Cup final berth|
|Salah finds the net again to equal Premier League scoring record|
|Nadal marches on towards 11th Monte Carlo crown|
|West Brom 2 Liverpool 2: Careless Reds drop points to offer Baggies slim survival hope|
|Roma will be eyeing revenge against Liverpool, warns Ancelotti|
|Bayern hand Bundesliga debut to Lars Lukas Mai|