Pep Guardiola not losing sleep over looming Champions League appeal decision


Manchester City are set to discover the outcome of their appeal against a two-year European ban.

Pep Guardiola insists he will not be losing sleep as Manchester City anxiously wait to discover whether they will be eligible to participate in next season’s Champions League.

City are set to learn on Monday if their appeal against a two-year European ban for alleged breaches of club licensing and financial fair play regulations has been successful.

The club have done all they can to qualify on the pitch after Saturday evening’s 5-0 thrashing of Brighton assured them of finishing runners-up to runaway Premier League champions Liverpool.

Manchester City are set to discover whether they will be banned from the Champions League
Manchester City are set to discover whether they will be allowed to play in the Champions League (Nick Potts/PA)

City boss Guardiola accepts the decision is out of his hands but believes there are strong grounds for the sanction to be overturned and is hopeful of a favourable outcome.

“I am going to sleep because I cannot do anything. I would love to do something but I can’t,” said Guardiola.

“I am confident in the club. I know their arguments, the defence they had and next season we are going to be in the place that we won on the pitch this season and, in some moments, in a marvellous way.

“But we have to wait. We’ll respect the decision but I try to be involved knowing exactly what happened and I am fully confident about what the club has done.”

City appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after UEFA’s club financial control body issued the suspension in February.

UEFA ruled the club had committed “serious breaches” of financial fair play regulations between 2012 and 2016.

A number of other Premier League clubs will be eagerly awaiting the verdict as Champions League expulsion for City would mean a fifth-placed finish will be sufficient to qualify for the competition.

Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United, Sheffield United and Wolves could potentially benefit from the ban being upheld.

Asked if he had a message for those rival clubs, Guardiola said: “Absolutely nothing because we wait until Monday. I know there are many teams in the Premier League waiting too.

“And after Monday, whatever UEFA says, I think the club is going to make a statement and in my press conference if you ask me I am going to make my answers. But now I cannot say anything else that we have done.

“It is a joy to watch our team. I love my guys and we are ready for the rest of the season to try to do our best and I’m confident.

“I don’t know anything about this (the verdict), it’s just a feeling. I am confident because we know exactly what the club has done and that will allow us to play in the Champions League next season and to be recognised for everyone that nothing wrong happened.”

City cemented second spot thanks to Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick and strikes from Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva at the Amex Stadium.

With 27 goals in all competitions, Sterling is enjoying the most prolific season of his club career, while off the field he has repeatedly spoken out against racism and become a role model as an advocate for social change.

Guardiola says he is “really proud” of the 25-year-old’s achievements and fully supportive of his actions away from the game.

“People forget that behind the shirts there are human beings,” Guardiola said.

“They have feelings and they defend the humanitarian issues in the best possible way, and I like it because when you have a commitment to society to do a better society for yourself and for your kids, this commitment helps you to be a better player.

“Also, the big athletes always make a compromise for society and I think Raheem and many, many of our players and a lot of people around the world is doing it to make it a better world.

“It’s difficult but I am really proud of him what he is doing. He knows as a club and myself as a person, we will support him 100 per cent.”