Guardiola confident City can come out on top in fight for European future

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola has full confidence in Manchester City as they take their battle against their Champions League expulsion to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

City, who claim they have “irrefutable evidence” backing their case, are appealing against their two-year ban from European competition for Financial Fair Play breaches.

Manager Guardiola, who reaffirmed his commitment to the club last week, claims to have seen this evidence and is strongly backing the fight against the UEFA-imposed sanction.

He said: “We were under suspicion for a long time but we have the right to appeal. I trust the people in my club.

“They have explained the reasons and shown me arguments and the proof, and we are optimistic that finally, if we deserve to be in the Champions League next season, we can do it.

“If it doesn’t happen we have to accept and move forward with the people who want to stay but we are going to see what happens with CAS.”

Guardiola was speaking at a press conference at the Bernabeu ahead of the first leg of this year’s last-16 tie against Real Madrid.

Approaching the contest as if it might be City’s last opportunity in the competition is not something that has entered the Spaniard’s mind, claiming it is not this current squad’s final shot at European glory.

He said: “No way! These players will have a lot of chances to win the Champions League.

“This season is a big opportunity. I know we play the king of this competition and we know the challenge in front of us but, at the same time, it’s not the last one.”

Guardiola also revealed positive news regarding England forward Raheem Sterling who will be fit for the encounter in Madrid.

Sterling had been out for three weeks with a hamstring injury but has won the race against time to be ready for the encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Meanwhile, veteran Spanish midfielder David Silva could also feature against Los Blancos after recovering from minor knee surgery.