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

Paul Wilson at the Etihad Stadium
Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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.

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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.”

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.”

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.

“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.”

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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.”

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.”