MX23RW : Thursday, August 13 20:39:36| >> :120:35306:35306:

Pep Guardiola still confident Manchester City's European ban will be thrown out

Pep Guardiola still confident City's European ban will be thrown out
© Reuters
City are expected to learn the outcome of their appeal against a two-year exclusion from European competition next Monday.

Pep Guardiola has reiterated his confidence Manchester City will have their Champions League ban overturned.

City will learn the outcome of their appeal against a two-year exclusion from European competition on Monday morning.

The club were hit with the punishment in February after being found guilty by UEFA of breaches of the European governing body’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

City challenged that verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and have always been bullish about winning their case.

City have appealed against a two-year ban from the Champions League
City have appealed against a two-year ban from the Champions League (Martin Rickett/PA)

Guardiola said: “The intention is, every season, to play in the Champions League and do the best as possible. It’s not about what is going to happen on Monday.

“But on Monday I’m so confident because I know, and hear, and saw, the arguments of the club that next season we will be there.

“But we have to wait and after I will give my opinion and the club will give a statement.”

City remain firmly in contention to win this season’s delayed Champions League.

City claimed a famous win over Real Madrid in February
City claimed a famous win over Real Madrid in February (Nick Potts/PA)

They lead 2-1 after the first leg of their last-16 tie against Real Madrid and now know they will play Juventus or Lyon in the quarter-finals should they finish the job.

City learned on Thursday they will be able to host Madrid at the Etihad Stadium – albeit behind closed doors – after suggestions the game could be moved to a neutral venue in Portugal along with the latter stages of the competition.

Guardiola feels that was a sensible decision.

“Why should we play in another place?” said Guardiola of a game also now confirmed for August 7. “We played the first leg in Madrid, the second leg should be at home. It is a normal situation.

City maintained their high intensity as they thrashed Newcastle 5-0 in midweek
City maintained their high intensity as they thrashed Newcastle 5-0 in midweek (Oli Scarff/NMC Pool)

“It is not about an advantage. It is what it is. When there is a knockout of two games, one is at home, one away.”

Were the suspension not hanging over them, City, second in the Premier League, would be almost certain of playing in the Champions League next season.

Guardiola, however, points out it is not yet mathematically secured. He is using that fact, in preparation for the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal and the game against Real Madrid, to keep his side motivated.

City travel to Brighton on Saturday.

Guardiola said at a press conference: “The best way to keep the condition is to play at high intensity, at our level and our rhythm.

“It’s a good test for us to read the game, to win the last point we need to qualify for next season’s Champions League – an incredible success again – and move forward and keep going.

“Playing the way we have been since lockdown, I am more than satisfied.”

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool38323385335299
2Manchester CityMan City382639102356781
3Manchester UnitedMan Utd381812866363066
4Chelsea392061369571266
5Leicester CityLeicester381881267412662
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs3816111161471459
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves381514951401159
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd391512124239357
9Arsenal381414105648856
10Burnley38159144350-754
11Southampton38157165160-952
12Everton381310154456-1249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381111163858-2044
14Crystal Palace381110173150-1943
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914153954-1541
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham38109194962-1339
17Aston Villa3898214167-2635
RBournemouth3897224065-2534
RWatford38810203664-2834
RNorwich CityNorwich3856272675-4921

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