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