- Manager fully expects club’s appeal to be successful
- ‘I’m so confident. Next season we will be there’
Pep Guardiola is confident Manchester City will have their two-year ban from Uefa competition quashed when the court of arbitration for sport delivers its verdict on the club’s appeal on Monday.
City were given the suspension in February after being found to have seriously misled Uefa and broken financial fair play rules. Yet their manager expects the club to be in the Champions League next season.
“On Monday I’m so confident – because I know and hear the arguments of the club – [that] next season we will be there and after I will give my opinion and the club will give a statement,” he said.
City play Real Madrid in next month’s Champions League last-16 second leg at the Etihad Stadium, holding a 2-1 lead. If they progress they will face Juventus or Lyon.
Meanwhile, Sergio Agüero will as a minimum miss the Madrid game, increasing the reliance on Gabriel Jesus, who broke a nine-game scoring drought in Wednesday’s 5-0 win over Newcastle United.
The Brazilian, who has 19 goals in all competitions, has become the first choice No 9 in Agüero’s injury-enforced absence. Guardiola said the 23-year-old had to deal with the demand of having to score consistently for City.
“He has to live with this pressure here or wherever because he’s a striker and he has to score goals. It’s normal with all strikers in all big clubs around the world. They [strikers] have to live with the pressure, those at a high level.
“What’s important is what he does. When he misses he doesn’t hide from the next chance. He tries again and tries again and again. I said many times he has to score, he will score, but we don’t judge him just for this.
“A lot of goals we’ve scored since he arrived is because of his movement. If wingers score a lot of goals and attacking midfielders score a lot of goals it’s thanks to him, most of them.”