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Pep Guardiola vows to stay at City and back their fight against Uefa ban

The Guardian logo The Guardian 19/02/2020 Paul Wilson at the Etihad Stadium

(Video by Reuters)

Pep Guardiola, in his first press conference since being confronted with the possibility of a two-year Champions League ban for Manchester City over alleged breaches of Uefa’s financial fair play regulations, said he was confident in his club’s ability to defend its position and that he hoped they would be playing in Europe next year.

Speaking after the 2-0 Premier League victory against West Ham, the City manager insisted the matter was not finished. “The club believes it is unfair so we are going to appeal and we are going to wait,” Guardiola said. “I trust 100% what my club have said and what they have done, they have explained to me the reasons. We are going to fight, and we are optimistic that next season, if we qualify for the Champions League, we will be there.”

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v West Ham United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - February 19, 2020  Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts  REUTERS/Phil Noble  EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details. © Thomson Reuters Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v West Ham United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - February 19, 2020 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts REUTERS/Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Guardiola is under contract until the end of next season and has confirmed he will not be walking away from the club before that point. “Unless they sack me, which can happen, I will not leave,” he said. “Why should I? I love this club, I like to be here, and after we have seen the sentence we will focus on what we have to do.

I want to stay to continue to help the club and maintain this level as long as possible. That’s not just because I have a contract, we want to fight to the end for the people who support this club.”

Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (R) embraces Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne as he leaves the pitch substituted during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on February 19, 2020. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images) Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (R) embraces Manchester City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne as he leaves the pitch substituted during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on February 19, 2020. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

The City chief executive, Ferran Soriano, said earlier in the day that the club had “irrefutable evidence” that Uefa’s charges were false.

Guardiola has not seen that evidence but he made it clear he trusts his directors implicitly. “All I can say is that I support the club and trust what the directors have told me,” he said.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City celebrates with Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City  following his sides victory in  during the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on February 19, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Victoria Haydn/Manchester City FC via Getty Images) © 2020 Manchester City FC MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City celebrates with Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City following his sides victory in during the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on February 19, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Victoria Haydn/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)

“I am not the right person to ask about the evidence the club has, I am not a lawyer and it is a sensitive issue when you are talking about a legal action. I know a little of the reasons and there are two sides. All I can do is try to win the games. You have to try and fight if you think you have a case and I believe we are going to do it.”

Guardiola was much happier when responding to a taunt from the Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, who had publicly thanked Uefa for its work on FFP in the wake of its announcement regarding City. “My advice would be don’t talk too loud, because everybody is involved in situations,” the City manager added. “We are going to appeal and hopefully in the future we can play against Barcelona in the Champions League.”

Gallery: Latest football gossip (ReadSport)


Of the actual West Ham victory, Guardiola said he was happy with the amount of aggression his side had shown, which was not something anyone was likely to hear from David Moyes. “Few teams come here to be open, we tried to be well-organised defensively,” the West Ham manager said. “We did a decent job.

We were not good enough to win the game [West Ham did not manage a shot on target] but maybe at the end of the season goal difference will be important.”

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