Pep confident over City’s Champions League future

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Pep Guardiola is confident Manchester City will not be banned from the Champions League.

Reports this week claimed City could face such a punishment if European governing body UEFA decides to take action over alleged attempts to circumvent Financial Fair Play rules.

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City were the subject of a series of reports based on leaked emails in German magazine Der Spiegel last month which claimed to highlight accounting irregularities.

UEFA, who fined City almost £50million and imposed further squad and spending limits on the club for breaching FFP in 2014, has since been considering its options in light of these fresh allegations, which City have consistently denied.

Pep Guardiola is not worried (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Pep Guardiola is not worried (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

UEFA president Aleksandar Ceferin this week confirmed an independent body is assessing the situation and formal investigation could follow.

Yet even if it does, Guardiola does not expect the matter to lead to a ban from Europe’s elite competition.

The City manager said: “We will not be banned, no. That’s what I think because I trust in my chairman, with my CEO and what they have explained to me. I trust in them.

“If it happens, because UEFA decide that, we will accept it and move forward.”

Manchester City are top of the Premier League (Nick Potts/PA)
Manchester City are top of the Premier League (Nick Potts/PA)

City, the Premier League leaders and champions, travel to Chelsea on Saturday looking to secure another notable away win over a potential title rival.

Guardiola’s side have already won at Arsenal and Tottenham this season and drawn at Liverpool.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola said: “We play against five hypothetical strong teams in the Premier League and tomorrow is the last one away, apart from Manchester United, who we have played at home.

“Our behaviour was good. At home we have been solid, scoring a lot of goals, creating a lot of chances, and away – maybe Tottenham was not our best performance and Liverpool neither – but we have competed like a solid team and that is a good thing.

“In these sort of games of course we want to win but I’m more focused on our behaviour. How we are as a team on those sort of stages. That’s what I want to see from my team.”

City claimed what Guardiola felt was a psychologically important victory at Chelsea early in last season’s title-winning campaign.

He said: “Last season winning there was more than three points. It showed we could do it. It was an important step for last season, the first important game away against the last champion.

“In that moment, it was important to say we can go anywhere and deliver a good performance – winning and with a good performance.

“And since we have continued in that vein and the target is to try to do it again.”

City are again without record scorer Sergio Aguero while Kevin De Bruyne, who scored the winner at Stamford Bridge last year, is also not ready to return.

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