Pep Guardiola has said that off the pitch, he does not respect the way rival club Arsenal conduct themselves.
Speaking after the North London club dumped his side out of the FA Cup, the Manchester City manager stated that the Gunners have his admiration for their playing style, but that any mutual recognition firmly ends there.
Pep Guardiola: ‘Not Much’ Respect for Arsenal off the Pitch
Frustrations Over Arteta Approach and CAS Decision
Guardiola’s frustration towards Arsenal stems back to when the Gunners approached his former assistant Mikel Arteta in secret last December before they appointed him as their new head coach.
Additionally, the Manchester City hierarchy are thought to believe that Arsenal are among many clubs to have called on the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) not to agree to any delay to City’s two-year ban from European football. CAS, though, fully overturned the ban anyway.
If that is the case, then Guardiola will struggle to see eye-to-eye with a number of Premier League clubs. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp called the decision “a sad day for football”, while Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho labelled the verdict “a disgrace”.
Pep Guardiola Congratulates Arsenal on FA Cup Triumph
Arteta’s side beat his own in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday. While Guardiola was gracious in defeat, he did verbalise his off-field frustrations towards Arsenal.
“The opponents always deserve my respect and credit, and Arsenal, they have it. I have all the respect for what Arsenal are on the pitch – not much off the pitch, but on the pitch a lot. So I congratulate them and good luck against Chelsea in the final.”
Manchester City Focus Switches to Champions League
Guardiola’s side cannot finish lower than second in the Premier League this season. Having exited the FA Cup, they can now switch their focus towards a maiden Champions League triumph.
The second leg of their tie with La Liga champions Real Madrid takes place on 7th August, and Guardiola is looking ahead to the clash.
“Now we are incredibly excited and incredibly optimistic about the game against Madrid, for the players we have.
“We know if we play at a decent level, higher than we played against Arsenal, we’ll have our chance. If not, we’ll be out.”