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."
20. April 2018
|Arsene Wenger: The Arsenal manager´s worst moments|
|Wright: More Arsenal changes needed after Wenger exit|
|Guardiola wishes Iniesta the best ahead of potential Barcelona exit|
|Real football people appreciate Wenger - Moyes, Warnock and more pay tribute|
|Guardiola set for contract talks with Manchester City|
|Controversial Slater score helps Storm to victory|
|Liverpool top, DVDs just invented and no Harry Potter – The world when Wenger joined Arsenal|
|Heynckes cannot compare Lewandowski and Ronaldo|
|Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Messi, Mbappe and more – the stars Wenger claims he could have signed|
|Ferguson: Rival, colleague and friend Wenger is one of the greatest|
|Gattuso wary of challenge for Milan´s European place|
|Neuer returns to Bayern training after seventh-month absence|
|Wembley no advantage for Spurs in semi-final, warns Mourinho|
|WATCH: Dez Bryant works out with Odell Beckham Jr. as rumors swirl|
|PSG, Monaco, the CSL, France? - Wenger´s possible next moves|
|Rematches, rivalries and a mouth-watering Wembley clash – The pick of the 2018 NFL schedule|
|Wenger ´an example´ to foreign Premier League managers like Benitez|
|Wilshere: Wenger is like a father|
|Guardiola wants Wenger to find new role in football|
|Henry: Wenger´s Arsenal legacy is untouchable|
|Mourinho: Wenger feud shows how much I respect him|
|Conte: Top four still possible for Chelsea|
|Frizell inspires Highlanders win over Blues, Lions beat Waratahs|
|Majestic Nadal hammers Thiem in Monte Carlo|
|Aguero out for the season - Guardiola|
|Wenger´s 22-year Arsenal tenure will not be matched, says Conte|
|Celtic would let Rodgers move to Arsenal|
|Squillaci, Cech & Wenger´s worst signings at Arsenal|
|Heynckes: I cannot imagine Wenger at another club|
|Thank you Arsene - Emery pays tribute to Wenger|
|Fabregas and Van Persie join tributes to Arsenal boss Wenger|
|Smith confirmed as England national selector|
|1,228 matches and seven FA Cups - Wenger at Arsenal in Opta numbers|
|Mertesacker ´emotional´ as Wenger announces Arsenal departure|
|Ancelotti, Tuchel, Henry – Where do Arsenal turn after Wenger?|
|Klopp doesn´t want Liverpool to chase Golden Boot for Salah|
|´The Arsene Wenger Stadium´ - Former Arsenal players call for tribute|
|Wenger was so good ´it was scary´, says Merson|
|Shields requests to be released for England duty|
|Khan: ´Cheat´ Alvarez got off lightly|
|I fell in love with playing for Wenger - Winterburn|
|Van der Sar urges Kluivert to continue Ajax development|
|Cockerill signs Edinburgh contract extension|
|Klopp pays tribute to ´outstanding´ Wenger|
|Wenger´s consistency will never be matched – Kroenke hails Arsenal manager´s legacy|
|Arsene Wenger: The Arsenal manager´s best moments|
|Vieira, Henry and Wenger´s best signings at Arsenal|
|Wenger to stand down as Arsenal manager|
|Ibrahimovic not in Sweden´s plans despite latest World Cup hint|
|Cricket Australia to appoint head coach before England series|
|Rafinha confident over fresh Bayern deal|
|Arrieta settling in as Phillies ace after Philadelphia win|
|Perth Glory sack Kenny Lowe|
|Warriors, Pelicans claim 3-0 leads as Embiid inspires 76ers|
|Whiteside blames new role under Spoelstra for struggles with Heat|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Lopez misses two penalties as Racing crush Vasco|
|Gunes hospitalised after suffering head injury in abandoned Fenerbahce-Besiktas clash|
|Murray tames wind to lead Texas Open as Garcia struggles|
|NFL schedule: Top 10 games to watch in 2018|
|Thiago Silva eyeing PSG exit amid criticism|
|Trail Blazers´ Turner ruled out of game three|
|Premier League or Champions League title will take Spurs to ´different level´ – Pochettino|
|Klopp: Bayern Munich move would´ve been complicated|
|Mask-wearing Joel Embiid cleared to face Heat|
|Wenger names Vieira as potential Arsenal successor|
|Simeone demands more alert Atletico to solve away day problems|
|Lance Armstrong agrees $5million settlement to federal lawsuit|
|Sixers´ Embiid upgraded to probable for game three against Heat|
|Malaga relegated from LaLiga after late defeat|
|Conte reaches 100 Chelsea games with win at Burnley|