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Manchester City are owed an apology after getting all clear for Champions League: Pep Guardiola

 

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All smiles: Pep Guardiola was delighted to see City overturn their Euro ban

All smiles: Pep Guardiola was delighted to see City overturn their Euro ban

PA

All smiles: Pep Guardiola was delighted to see City overturn their Euro ban

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City deserve an apology after successfully overturning their European ban.

The City boss has hit out at rival clubs for what he believes was a "whispering" campaign to discredit them.

City won an appeal against a two-year exclusion from European competition, imposed by Uefa for alleged Financial Fair Play breaches, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday.

Guardiola feels the club have now proved their innocence after years of accusations related to their financial strength and says it is time for others to accept their place among the elite is merited.

"I'm incredibly happy with the decision. It shows that all that people said about the club was not true," said Guardiola.

"We should be being apologised to. If we did something wrong we would accept, absolutely, the decisions from Uefa and CAS.

"We don't expect Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea or Wolves, or all the clubs, to defend us but we have the right to defend ourselves when we believe what we have done is correct, and three independent judges said this.

"Today is a good day, yesterday was a good day for football because we play by the same rules for financial fair play as all the clubs in Europe.

"People said we were cheating and lying, and many times the presumption of innocence was not there.

"In recent years, how many times have people come to our club to do this whispering on us? I would like to see these kind of people and say, 'Look in our eyes. If you have something to say, say it face to face' and go to the pitch and play on the pitch how we have to play as rivals.

"But they lost off the pitch. We can play in the Champions League because what we have done is right. That's why they have to accept it, go on the pitch and play against us there."

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has branded the CAS decision "a disgrace" and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said Monday was not "a good day for football". Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was previously a vocal critic of City's cash-accelerated rise.

"I know that for elite clubs, respectful clubs, like Liverpool, Man United and especially Arsenal, it is uncomfortable us being here," said Guardiola in a robust performance at a press conference ostensibly to preview City's Premier League game against Bournemouth tonight.

"But they have to understand we deserve to be here. If we want to compete with them, we go on the pitch and compete with them and try to achieve what they have achieved in the past, decades ago, and what we have done this decade. We deserve to be stronger year by year.

"Sometimes we win, sometimes we don't but they have to understand it. If you don't agree, knock on the door of our chairman and CEO and talk. Don't go from behind and whisper, seven, eight, nine clubs - go and do it on the pitch.

"We are not banned because we follow the rules for the Financial Fair Play and the rules Uefa and Fifa had decided. We have done it properly in the right way. People have to understand, right now, that we are here."

Guardiola, who has one year remaining on his contract, was asked about his own long-term future in light of the CAS ruling.

He said: "Now is not the time. I have one more year. One year for a manager is a long, long time and the decisions we made to do before the sentence, it was quite similar now.

"But my personal situation was clear, because I said months ago I would have stayed here (next year). It didn't matter whether we were in the Champions League. Some people here in England suggested we should play in League Two, so I would have stayed here."

Meanwhile, Eddie Howe admits relegation-threatened Bournemouth must produce their finest performance of the season to "create a moment of history" by beating City for the first time.

The struggling Cherries travel to the Etihad Stadium this evening in desperate need of points to prolong their five-year stay in the Premier League.

Bournemouth have lost each of their previous nine top-flight clashes with City, conceding 28 goals in those games and scoring just four times in reply.

"We're going to need our best performance of the season to get anything in this game," said Howe, whose team are three points from safety.

"I always believe if you haven't done something yet then there is an opportunity to create a moment of history that changes that."

Man City v Bournemouth

Premier League:

Etihad Stadium, Tonight, 6.00pm

Belfast Telegraph