Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva has come under fire for a tweet involving his team mate Benjamin Mendy. Photo: EPA

Pep Guardiola's decision to mount a public defence of Bernardo Silva pending a potential racism charge was taken by the manager himself rather than being sanctioned by his club.

Guardiola showed his support for the 25-year-old Portuguese on Friday by describing him as an ‘exceptional person’ even as the player and City were writing to the FA to explain a social media post that compared images of team-mate Bernard Mendy with a caricature of a black icon on the Spanish confectionery brand Conguitos.

A second video of Bernardo filming Mendy in a black T-shirt and ‘joking’ that he wasn’t wearing any clothes has since come to light and is also being looked at by the authorities.

The FA are likely to decide this week whether their investigation into both the picture and video will lead to any charges. Bernardo could be banned for several weeks if found guilty of a racial slur.

Guardiola’s determination to back Bernardo has put City in an awkward position given their past complaints to UEFA over racist chanting in Russia aimed at their former player Yaya Toure.

City have traditionally taken a respectful line towards official investigations, working with the relevant parties rather than making any public statements. In 2011, they co-operated fully with the FA over a drugs charge against Kolo Toure which led to the player getting a six-month ban.

It is understood the club advised Guardiola not to make any comments on the Bernardo affair until the authorities had decided what action to take, if any. But the manager thought it more important to show solidarity with his player, though his comments will bring comparisons with Kenny Dalglish’s support of Luis Suarez ahead of his racism case with Patrice Evra.

Kick It Out have called Bernardo’s tweet ‘discriminatory’, though Guardiola insists the post was a joke and that Bernardo and Mendy are good friends dating back to their days playing together for Monaco.

City have written to the FA with their observations and Bernardo and Mendy have also made representations.

The midfielder, named in last season’s PFA team of the year as City won a unique domestic treble, originally hit out at critics of his ill-advised ‘joke’ but is now believed to understand the problems it has caused.

City have also underlined to the rest of their squad the dangers of transferring private material into the public arena.

Daily Mail