Pep Guardiola has doubled down on his claim Tuesday was a “good day for football,” and that clubs like Liverpool “must be happy” Man City avoided a ban from Europe.
City’s proposed two-year ban from European competition was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), following an appeal against their sanction by UEFA.
The Premier League‘s second-placed side were accused of major breaches of Financial Fair Play, but appear to have escaped any real punishment due to UEFA’s own time-barring rules.
It is a farcical situation, and both Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho were critical in their press conferences on Tuesday, with Guardiola delivering a response in his own address.
And in a later section of his sit-down with journalists, the City manager claimed the eight clubs who wrote to the CAS in March, to demand any decision would not be deferred due to the suspension of football, “must be happy.”
He added: “I was completely with these eight clubs, to go to CAS and make the resolution.
“The resolution was there, so that’s why they must be happy. They must be happy because we didn’t break the rules, we played the same rules as all the clubs in the Premier League and UEFA.
“So next time, before you go making phone calls, they can call our chairman or our CEO and say ‘guys, Manchester City, all these clubs we’re going to it altogether, to try to get this kind of resolution’.
“We were on the same page. So, unfortunately, we can only play four teams in the Champions League next season, not the five.”
Guardiola’s press conference, from an outside perspective, comes across very ‘fake news’, with the manager claiming City “don’t have to apologise” despite still being fined €10 million for obstructing UEFA’s investigation.
He continued to defend his club’s financial power, arguing that, in a summer that saw them sign Rodri and Joao Cancelo for over £120 million, they “could not pay like United paid” to bring in another target, Harry Maguire.
But there were some agreeable statements, too, particularly with his acceptance that he “needs [to work with] clubs who are financially strong” to succeed.
The Spaniard added that “we can spend as much money as our chairman and our owners want,” but made sure to qualify that by insisting “always in the Financial Fair Play rules.”
“My chairman is not happy with me, we’ll finish 21, 23 points behind Liverpool, he’s not happy with me,” he continued.
“But we’ll discuss that internally to try to do it better next season, to compete with them, but always on the pitch.”
The suggestion is that City will continue to spend now in order to challenge Liverpool for the title next season—”we want to reinforce as much as we can”—and their “exoneration” effectively allows them to do so.
Explaining his animated stance, Guardiola answered a question on the criticism from Klopp and Mourinho, and re-emphasised his belief that “today was a good day for football.”
“All I say is that all of them have their opinions, like Jurgen and Jose, but I tell Jose and Jurgen: today was a good day for football,” he said.
“A very good day. It was clear it would happen, and that’s nice.
“I have my long history to show I have a lot of respect, not just for the manager of Tottenham and Liverpool, but for all the managers. In the media, on and off the pitch, all the time.
“But I don’t expect them to defend my club, but I’m going to defend my club. In the good and especially in the bad moments.”
It comes as no surprise that the City manager would take this position, but the fear is FFP rules are now undermined to the point which clubs with such financial power can exploit them.
Perhaps the most salient point, however, was that Guardiola’s chairman “is not happy,” as despite their spending, City will “finish 21, 23 points behind Liverpool.”