Manager of Premier League club Manchester City Pep Guardiola gestures during a match. File photo
Pep Guardiola has said that he does not respect Arsenal “off-the-pitch” as the fallout from Manchester City’s successful Champions League ban appeal rumbles on.
City’s two-year ban from European football’s premier club competition was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week in a landmark ruling against governing body Uefa.
Guardiola subsequently accused Arsenal and other Premier League rivals of “whispering” – colluding behind City’s back to ensure that their ban for alleged breaches of Financial Fair Play would be upheld.
Arsenal eliminated City in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, but when asked an unrelated question about preparations to play Watford and Norwich, Guardiola returned to the subject of Mikel Arteta’s side.
“I said after Arsenal, we didn’t play the first half against Arsenal like the second,” he said. “That was the only regret. We wanted to play 90 minutes like the second half. But after we were beaten we shook hands.
“The opponents always deserve my respect and credit. And Arsenal, I have all the respect for what they are on the pitch, not much off the pitch – but on the pitch, a lot. Congratulations to them and good luck in the final.”
Some at the Etihad believe Arsenal were influential in the process which saw eight top-flight clubs – all of the top 10 at the time, bar City and Sheffield United – write a letter to Uefa insisting City’s ban apply while their appeal was still ongoing.
Arsenal have traditionally been among the strongest advocates of Uefa’s controversial FFP measures, with former manager Arsène Wenger publicly backing the measures on many occasions until a change of heart in 2017.
Guardiola name-checked Arsenal several times during last week’s fiery press conference a day after the announcement of the Cas verdict, claiming they, Liverpool and Manchester United found City’s success “uncomfortable”.The Independent
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In only his 25th match as a manager, Arteta masterminded a 2-0 victory – secured by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's double – that ended Manchester City's title defence on Saturday.
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Kevin Parker, general secretary of the club’s official supporters’ group, suggested Guardiola was out of touch. “Mr Parker should review the comments,” Guardiola said.
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