Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has sent a defiant message ahead of his side’s clash with Aston Villa on Sunday.
It has been a turbulent week for the Citizens, who were slapped with numerous Premier League charges related to alleged financial misconduct. The reigning Premier League champions deny wrongdoing in relation to the charges, but they will have to battle then nonetheless.
The news is far from ideal preparation for City as they prepare for a clash with Villa on Sunday, looking to bounce back from a defeat to Tottenham last time out, when they missed out on the opportunity to close the gap to leaders Arsenal. Concern was raised when old comments from Guardiola emerged, with the Spaniard once suggesting he would leave the club if the club have ‘lied’ to him over the breaching of regulations.
But amid fresh allegations, Guardiola has sent a defiant message over his position as City head coach, saying: “My first thought is we’re already being condemned. It’s the same with UEFA, we were already condemned. The club proved we were completely innocent. You know on what side I am [on].
“We are lucky we live in a country where everyone is innocent until proven guilty. It seems like we have already been sentenced. What is going to happen, I don’t know. We think we have good lawyers and I we are going to defend our position. Time will depend what happens. We will see what a judge, the Premier League decides. In the same way with UEFA, we are innocent.
“[If Manchester City are charged and punished] we will be back. We will get Paul Dickov and Mike Summerbee and be back.
“The club, they talk to all of us. But we have trained like normal to get ready for Aston Villa. The last seven years have been for us, our fans and our people. The court will dictate what happens. I am fully convinced that we will be innocent.”
Asked specifically about his old comments, Guardiola added: “It happened in UEFA and that was for one or two years. Now it has happened everyone is going to talk about it every single day. We just have to focus on the pitch. There is a long process and we know what is going to happen.
“It is difficult for me to answer this question. I don’t know [if other Premier League clubs want us punished”. They open a precedent right now. Be careful in the future because many clubs make suggestions and we have been accused. I can have an opinion, but what do fans think? I don’t know. It is obvious the fans want to push us out of the competition. They believe we didn’t behave properly.
“I am not moving from this seat, I can assure you. I want to stay more than ever. After many, many years in the Premier League I do not want to move on.
“I don’t know what is going to happen. I had the same feeling with UEFA. In fact, UEFA was worse. The players are focused with their talent and their effort. We will see what happens after the sentencing. I don’t want to anticipate what is going to happen.”
Villa will be hoping those comments do not serve as a rallying call for City ahead of Sunday’s clash.