MADRID — Pep Guardiola says he has been shown proof Manchester City have not violated financial irregularities that has seen the club be hit with a European ban.
City, who face Real Madrid in the last-16 of the Champions League on Wednesday, have been handed a two-year suspension after being found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play regulations by UEFA.
The club, who intend to appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, have often cited “irrefutable evidence” that they have not violated FFP regulations, and speaking at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday evening, Guardiola revealed he has been given a run down of the case by City chiefs.
“We were under suspicion for a long time, we have the right to appeal and I trust the people in my club,” said Guardiola. “They explain the reasons, they showed me the arguments and the proofs. We are optimistic that finally if we deserve to be in the Champions League we can do it next season, if finally it doesn’t happen we have to accept and move forward.
“My trust is with the club. I know them. We are going to see what happens with CAS.”
Guardiola, who has won the Champions League twice while in charge at Barcelona but has never been beyond the quarterfinals with City, insists his players should not need a potential ban as extra motivation as they attempt to progress at the expense of the Zinedine Zidane’s 13-times winners.
David Silva said the squad’s focus was only the game rather than the implications of a possible suspension, but with his time at the Etihad Stadium coming to an end in the summer, the 34-year-old admitted the Champions League is a trophy he is still desperate to win.
“We want to win the competition and we didn’t win it,” said Silva, “I want to win Champions League. Having the second leg at home is better because we are with our fans. In order to [to go back with a chance of progressing] we need to have a good match and a good result [here].”
Guardiola has been boosted ahead of the first leg against Real Madrid, who have won just one of their last four games, by the return of Raheem Sterling. The winger has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury but is ready to start against the Spanish giants.
“He’s fit,” said Guardiola. “His natural condition, his a regeneration is amazing. He said to us he could have played against West Ham and Leicester but the doctor said be careful. He’s fit, he’s ready.”