Manchester City deserve Champions League football: Pep Guardiola
Citizens awaiting CAS decision on whether their European ban should be overturned
Manager Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City deserve their place in the Champions League next season as the club wait to find out whether their two-season ban from playing in European competitions will be overturned.
City were handed the two-season sanction by Uefa in February over alleged breaches of financial fair play rules, but appealed that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which will deliver its verdict on Monday (July 13).
On the field, City ensured they will finish in the English Premier League’s top four, with Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday morning (Singapore time).
“Today, we achieved one incredible challenge, which is qualification for the Champions League mathematically,” said Guardiola.
“We deserve to be there because we won it on the pitch. Hopefully, on Monday, Uefa can allow us to play like this team and these players deserve to.”
For the fourth time in their last six league games, City scored four or more goals in another performance that belied the 21-point gap between them and champions Liverpool.
However, they could still end the season with a treble of trophies as they face Arsenal in the semi-finals of the FA Cup this weekend before recommencing their Champions League campaign in August.
“I have the feeling all the team is ready to play good for what we have ahead of us,” added Guardiola.
“The levels we’ve had since the restart, even the games we lost, have been really good.”
Too often City have been found wanting for failing to take their chances and have been punished for defensive lapses at the other end.
However, there was never any chance of Brighton adding to their nine league defeats this season once Sterling curled home the opener and his 25th goal of the season with unerring accuracy into the far corner.
“I think the problem we’ve had this season is we’ve created a lot of chances and not taken them whereas last season and the season before we’d finish them and bury games early on,” said Sterling.
“This season we haven’t had that slight bit of luck.” – AFP