Guardi­ola: I do not have much re­spect for Arse­nal off the pitch

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By James Ducker

Pep Guardi­ola has taken a swipe at Arse­nal by re­veal­ing he does not have the same re­spect for the club off the pitch as he does on it, as the bit­ter fall­out from Manch­ester City’s successful ap­peal against their two-year Euro­pean sus­pen­sion con­tin­ues.

It is un­der­stood that City be­lieve Arse­nal were the prime movers be­hind a joint let­ter sent by eight Premier League clubs to the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport, in which they ar­gued that any at­tempt by City to de­lay a Uefa ban while their ap­peal was on­go­ing should be dis­missed.

With Cas ex­on­er­at­ing City last week, the fears shared by Arse­nal, Liver­pool, Manch­ester United, Chelsea, Tot­ten­ham, Le­ices­ter, Sh­effield United and Burn­ley never came to pass, but their ac­tions have left a sour taste in

Guardi­ola’s mouth. Af­ter an­grily telling his ri­vals last week to voice any concerns di­rectly to his club, rather than be­hind their back, Guardi­ola re­turned to the is­sue yes­ter­day. Asked what he hoped to glean from tonight’s match at Wat­ford and Sun­day’s visit of Nor­wich, Guardi­ola could not re­sist tak­ing an un­prompted dig at Arse­nal 48 hours af­ter his team’s 2-0 de­feat by Mikel Arteta’s side in their FA Cup semi-fi­nal. “Wat­ford and Nor­wich can beat us but I want us to be who we are,” the City man­ager said.

“I said af­ter Arse­nal, we didn’t play in the first half like the sec­ond. That was the only re­gret. But af­ter we were beaten we shake 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.”

Cas is due to pub­lish its full writ­ten find­ings on the case this week, pro­vid­ing there are no ob­jec­tions by City or Uefa, as Guardi­ola looks ahead to the sec­ond leg of City’s Cham­pi­ons League round-of-16 tie against Real Madrid at the Eti­had Sta­dium on Aug 7.

Guardi­ola will have al­most a fort­night to pre­pare for the game and said he would scru­ti­nise Real’s per­for­mances since lock­down, as well as their games with­out captain Ser­gio Ramos this sea­son, given that the de­fender will be sus­pended following his red card in the first leg.

“We are go­ing to pre­pare for the game with the ad­van­tage that we have a lit­tle bit more time to pre­pare spe­cific things,” he said.

Barb: Pep Guardi­ola has made his feel­ings about Arse­nal clear

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