Pep Guardiola has aimed a dig at the Arsenal hierarchy in what appears to be a reference to the recent court ruling which saw Manchester City overturn their two-year ban from Europe.
Last week, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld City’s appeal after UEFA handed them a suspension from next season’s Champions League.
CAS found “most of the alleged financial fair play breaches reported were either not established or time-barred”. City’s initial €30m fine was also reduced to €10million (£8.96m).
But according to a report in The Mirror in March, City believe Arsenal were one of eight Premier League clubs who wrote to CAS to demand that Guardiola’s side should be excluded from either the Champions League next season.
And speaking after watching Arsenal beat his side 2-0 in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final, Guardiola offered his respect to former assistant Mikel Arteta for the Gunners’ achievements on the pitch – but not off it, with a sense of ill-feeling still evident.
“Our game, who we are, with and without the ball,” Guardiola said in his pre-match press conference before City’s clash against Watford.
“We are good when we go full gas, no fear, it doesn’t matter what happens and we play. That’s what we have to take from these two games.
“Watford and Norwich can beat us but I want us to be who we are. I said after Arsenal, my only regret from the game was that we didn’t play the first half like the second.
“We wanted to play 90 minutes like the second half. And after, if we were beaten, we shake hands. The opponents always deserve my respect and credit and Arsenal have it.
“I have all respect for what Arsenal are on the pitch – not much off the pitch, but on the pitch a lot. Congratulations to them and good luck in the final.”