Kevin De Bruyne insisted nothing has changed at Manchester City and said the players have "all trust" in the club after they were hit with a Champions League ban.

City were handed a two-season ban from European competition by UEFA last week after being found to have committed "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

The Premier League champions have denied any wrongdoing and intend to appeal, but speculation has mounted over manager Pep Guardiola and their star players' futures.

De Bruyne starred in a 2-0 Premier League win over West Ham on Wednesday and the playmaker said there was no change at City despite off-field events.

"Obviously we were on holiday when the statement happened. We came back and played football. The situation is what it is," he told Sky Sports.

"We came back and trained like normal and in the end nothing really changed. We just play the games we have, like today when we gave a good performance.

"We still have a lot to play for and let's hope we can find our rhythm as soon as possible and win some titles."

De Bruyne added: "The team give the statement. I don't know what else we can do other than play football. In the end the situation will show what it will show.

"The club is doing its thing and we have all trust in them."

Goals from Rodri and De Bruyne helped City consolidate second place and close the gap to Liverpool to 22 points in their first game since February 2.

De Bruyne felt the break impacted Guardiola's side, who travel to third-placed Leicester City on Saturday.

"It was okay. I think we saw it's been three weeks without football and we felt a little bit of rustiness, but we played a good game," he said.

The Financial Fair Play rain clouds that have been lingering for so long over Manchester City finally burst on Friday.

And yet, through the uncertain, murky gloom – which was not completely at odds with the Manchester weather earlier on this cold February day – there shined a familiar ray of hope.

Just as the rain subsided physically, so too can the storm pass – at least for this season – if Wednesday's evidence in City's 2-0 beating of West Ham is anything to go by. 

The full repercussions of the bombshell of a two-season ban from European competition and a €30million fine administered by UEFA for what the organisation's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) deemed "serious breaches" of its FFP are still some way from being felt.

Not least because it is a ruling that barely starts the war, let alone ends it. City offered an immediate rebuttal, a denying of any wrongdoing and an intention to take their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

More battle lines were drawn when chief executive Ferran Soriano insisted allegations that City broke the rules "are simply not true" alongside an insistence the club had provided "irrefutable evidence" to the CFCB they had committed no wrongdoing. 

It is a scenario that will rumble on for some time. 

But here's the thing. Ultimately, you can have questions around City's financial conduct. You can feel uncomfortable about City's main means of defence throughout the process being to attack the validity of UEFA's investigation. You can even question the morality of football clubs being funded by oil-rich states.

It is fine to harbour those legitimate concerns and still be completely in awe of the slick machine Pep Guardiola has built, one many suggested would not be possible in English football. 

Sure, the Premier League trophy is headed to Liverpool this season and City's on-pitch shortfalls owe much to Guardiola's nonsensical decision not to replace Vincent Kompany, leaving City's defence low on numbers - the consequent re-positioning of Fernandinho after a serious knee injury to Aymeric Laporte in turn weakening his midfield.

But there were moments against the Hammers that reminded us of what has made City so utterly joyous during the previous two all-conquering title-winning seasons.

The intent was plain to see with a starting line-up blessed with City's wealth of attacking armoury. David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne pulling the strings from midfield, Bernardo Silva employed further forward and Gabriel Jesus utilised wide in a front three – an intriguing subplot given it is a role he may have to fulfil against Real Madrid should Raheem Sterling not be fit and one in which he excelled as Brazil earned Copa America glory.

Indeed, had it not been for Jesus' dalliance, City twice would have been in front inside 15 minutes. West Ham clearly came with the intention to pack the defence and the midfield. The timeless David Silva unlocked that plan after just six minutes, playing an intricate sliderule ball into the path of Jesus who opted to try and round Lukasz Fabianski rather than take the favourable option of shooting. He was guilty of similar wastefulness when, after admittedly more fortuitous play, he was found by De Bruyne.

There was a delightful simplicity about the way City made the breakthrough. A De Bruyne corner, a front-post run by Rodri and a flicked header to the far post. 

But the second was much more a trademark of City under Guardiola. The intricate build-up play, the link-up between De Bruyne and his fellow creative genius Bernardo Silva, and the unerring finish from the former – who continues to be the beating heart of this team.

That such a performance came against a toothless, expensively assembled West Ham side shambling their way through a relegation battle should only partly detract from the credit City's performance deserves.

Sterner examinations are obviously on the horizon. Namely Madrid in what is a crucial last-16 Champions League tie, where you sense the atmosphere will be significantly more hostile towards UEFA and there will need to be more vibrancy on and off the pitch, though credit should be given to those game fans turning out for a hastily rearranged Premier League fixture with little riding on it.

Save for the brief, and somewhat unsavoury, "f*** UEFA" chants, and the self-deprecating singing of "City's going down with a billion in the bank" – a nod to a song rivals Manchester United used to taunt their blue neighbours with – the stands were understandably sedate and sparse.

But for now this was the sort of riposte City required on the pitch amid the uncertain turmoil off it. 

The FFP storm may still be gathering but with Guardiola, who has signalled his intent to stick around regardless of the outcome of the club's CAS appeal, there remains a feeling the light can shine through the dark clouds.

Mikel Arteta confirmed Matteo Guendouzi was dropped for Sunday's 4-0 Premier League win over Newcastle United due to his attitude in training.

The France youth international was reported to have been involved in a bust-up with Arteta at the club's warm weather training camp in Dubai during the mid-season break.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of his side's Europa League clash with Olympiacos on Thursday, Arteta revealed the 20-year-old's absence was related to issues with how he was training.

"I just do my team selection in regards to how they train, how they play, how they behave and every week it will be different," he said.

"One week it will be one reason, one week it will be another reason. It was about the way we trained, the way we live and I want the best players for the game and I select them in relation to what I see on a daily basis."

Guendouzi has been named in Arteta's squad for the last-32 first-leg clash in Athens, but the Spaniard refused to confirm if he will be selected in the starting XI.

He added: "We had a break of 15 days. We played just one game so I'm going to send out a team that I think is the best to play.

"The rest of the game will take care of itself. We cannot control everything. Sometimes you think about resting somebody and in training he gets a little issue or he gets sick.

"So, we will send out a team that we think is the best to beat Olympiacos and the rest of the teams after that will take care of themselves."

Arteta has also not ruled out that Pablo Mari could feature for the Gunners for the first time against Olympiacos.

Mari is yet to appear for the first team since joining on loan from Brazilian side Flamengo in January, but Arteta has suggested that he could be involved soon after coming through a reserve team game earlier this week unscathed.

Arteta, who was not present at the match, said: "I could not be there for a personal reason. I was pleased they [his staff] were there.

"His [Mari] commitment has been really good. He did well the other day and hopefully soon we can start to use him."

Manchester City put their off-field issues to one side by easing to a 2-0 win over West Ham in Wednesday's rearranged Premier League fixture at the Etihad Stadium.

The build-up to the game was dominated by talk of a two-year ban from European football imposed on City by UEFA for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations.

But it was business as usual on the pitch for City as Rodri made a breakthrough in the first half with his first home goal for the club and Kevin De Bruyne added a second just after the hour.

That proved enough for Pep Guardiola's men, who bounced back from their 2-0 loss at Tottenham earlier this month to open up a four-point gap on third-place Leicester City.

The original game was called off 10 days ago due to Storm Ciara which, combined with the competition's inaugural mid-season break, meant a 17-day rest for City's players.

It did not take long for the hosts to get going, Gabriel Jesus spurning a glorious chance by taking one touch too many in front of goal and allowing Ryan Fredericks to get back.

The Brazil striker again delayed the shot too long from City's next big opening, but Rodri opened the scoring with a looping header at the near post after half an hour.

Guardiola's men toiled for large parts of the contest but had a second goal after 62 minutes through De Bruyne, who exchanged passes with Bernardo Silva and fired home.

Jesus was denied by Lukasz Fabianski 13 minutes from the end, though it mattered little as West Ham - in the relegation zone after collecting two points from the last 18 on offer - failed to muster any sort of response.


What does it mean? City do their talking on the pitch

The threat of a two-year ban from the Champions League has led to talk of a string of City's first-team stars, as well as boss Guardiola, moving on at the end of the season.

Guardiola challenged his players to focus on each game as it comes and this was a welcome win, 17 days on from losing at Tottenham in their most recent outing.

De Bruyne delivers again

De Bruyne sent in a delightful corner for Rodri's opener and blasted in a second to make it a combined 151 goals and assists for the playmaker in Europe's top five leagues.

Since making his City debut in September 2015, only Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi (62) has assisted more goals in Europe's top five leagues than the 61 De Bruyne has managed.

Hesitant Jesus lets West Ham off

Guardiola started Aguero and Jesus together in the Premier League for just the 12th time and West Ham struggled to cope with the pair.

Both players should have got on the scoresheet, though, with Jesus guilty of missing three gilt-edged opportunities.

What's next?

City will be looking to preserve their four-point lead on Leicester when they head to the King Power Stadium on Saturday, while West Ham have a daunting trip to league leaders Liverpool in five days' time.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Paul Pogba is "not anywhere near ready" to return to team training with Manchester United as speculation over his long-term future intensifies.

The France World Cup winner has not featured for the Red Devils since the 4-1 Boxing Day win over Newcastle United as he continues his recovery from ankle surgery.

Solskjaer had suggested after Monday's 2-0 win over Chelsea that Pogba was due to resume training this week but changed his stance when previewing Thursday's Europa League clash with Club Brugge.

"Paul has not been part of the team training yet," boss Solskjaer said.

"So, it'll depend on how he feels or when he feels ready to do that, so he's not anywhere near that yet."

The latest update from Solskjaer will do little to assuage reports Pogba is heading for an Old Trafford exit at the end of the season, with a return to former club Juventus having been heavily mooted in recent weeks.

This week, Solskjaer has been involved in a back-and-forth with Pogba's agent Mino Raiola, who published a statement on Twitter prior to the Chelsea game that read: "Paul is not mine and for sure not Solskjaer's property, Paul is Paul Pogba's. You cannot own a human being already for a long time in the UK or anywhere else. I HOPE Solskjaer DO NOT WANT TO SUGGEST THAT PAUL IS HIS PRISONER."

Solskjaer later said he would not be drawn into a war of words and Raiola attempted to cool the feud, even going as far as to suggest Pogba could be open to the idea of a new contract.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says it is "touch and go" if Marcus Rashford plays again for Manchester United this season and cast doubt on his availability for England at Euro 2020.

Rashford has not featured for United since the FA Cup third-round replay against Wolves on January 15 due to a stress fracture in his back.

Originally, Rashford was expected to miss around six weeks and it was hoped he may return to action around April.

However, speaking prior to the Red Devils' Europa League clash at Club Brugge, Solskjaer said Rashford's injury was worse than first thought.

"He had a scan and it was maybe more severe than what we hoped and expected. He felt fine a few days before that," he said.

"I didn't know it takes that time to recover. When it heals he will be stronger for it so it's important we don't rush it.

"I would hope he's playing again this season it will just be touch and go towards the end. 

"Hopefully we can get through this tournament [Europa League] and prolong the season. 

"It takes time, I'm not a doctor but obviously I was hoping he'd recover quicker than it actually looks like he's going to be out for, another few months definitely."

England's first Euro 2020 fixture is against Croatia at Wembley on June 14 but, when asked if Rashford would be fit for the Three Lions, Solskjaer was non-committal. 

"I would hope he plays before then but if he's not fit enough he won't go," he added.

United made a move to replace Rashford in the short term with the loan signing of Odion Ighalo in the January transfer window.

Solskjaer's Norwegian compatriot Erling Haaland was another tipped to move to Old Trafford before he opted to join Borussia Dortmund from Salzburg.

Haaland has proven an instant hit at Signal Iduna Park, scoring 11 goals in just seven appearances, and Solskjaer is delighted to see the 19-year-old impressing.

"I normally never comment but since I have had Erling I'm delighted for him," Solskjaer said of the striker he coached at Molde.

"He's a top boy I want the best for and he's started fantastically for Dortmund. For Norway it's brilliant we have a striker who can score again."

The body that governs football's global laws has ruled out any imminent alteration to the offside rule after Arsene Wenger proposed change following a host of VAR controversies.

Former Arsenal boss Wenger, who is now FIFA's chief of global football development, suggested a player should not automatically be ruled offside if a part of their body that can be used to score a goal has moved beyond the relevant defender.

Wenger said: "There is room to change the rule and not say that a part of a player's nose is offside, so you are offside because you can score with that. Instead, you will be not be offside if any part of the body that can score a goal is in line with the last defender, even if other parts of the attacker's body are in front.

"That will sort it out and you will no longer have decisions about millimetres and a fraction of the attacker being in front of the defensive line."

Wenger has always had a prominent voice in the game, but he now holds office within world football's governing body, which adds weight to such propositions.

The Frenchman, who was speaking at the Laureus Awards, said it was "time to do this quickly", which has been interpreted as hoping the change could come before Euro 2020.

Yet the International Football Association Board (IFAB) has indicated a rule change is unlikely to be rushed through.

An IFAB annual general meeting in Belfast on February 29 will be the first point at which Wenger's idea can be discussed. with the ongoing use of VAR and its 'possible future developments' on the agenda.

However, that summit in Northern Ireland will not see the offside rule overhauled.

IFAB general secretary Lukas Brud told Sky Sports News: "There will be no law change regarding offside at this month's annual general meeting.

"We welcome Mr Wenger's views and look forward to discussing it, as a group.

"But our AGM is a point of discussion on offside and any law change will follow only after further dialogue in the game over the coming months."

The video assistant referee system has resulted in frustration for players, fans and coaches alike this season, with a host of goals disallowed for marginal offside decisions.

Olivier Giroud saw a header ruled out in Chelsea's 2-0 defeat to Manchester United on Monday after a check showed part of his foot was offside.

There have also been instances in the Premier League where goals have been disallowed due to attackers being measured offside from their armpits.

The current rule states: "A player is in an offside position if: any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half (excluding the halfway line) and any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent."

Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano insists allegations the club broke UEFA Financial Fair Play rules "are simply not true".

Last week, UEFA issued the Premier League champions with a two-season ban from European competition and a €30million fine after its investigation found them guilty of breaking FFP regulations.

UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) said City had "committed serious breaches" of FFP rules by overstating sponsorship revenue between 2012 and 2016 and added the club had failed to cooperate in its investigation.

City said they were "disappointed but not surprised" by the outcome and promised to appeal against the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Soriano, City CEO since September 2012, spoke on Wednesday to deny the club have received funds from owner Sheikh Mansour that were not "properly declared" and said City did cooperate with the CFCB, delivering "irrefutable evidence" that they committed no wrongdoing.

He also accused the CFCB adjudicatory chamber of being more concerned about "politics" than justice and criticised its reliance on "out-of-context stolen emails" in their investigation. UEFA has declined to respond to Soriano's comments.

"The most important thing I have to say today is that the allegations are not true. They are simply not true," Soriano told City media.

"The owner has not put money in this club that has not been properly declared. We are a sustainable football club, we are profitable, we don't have debt, our accounts have been scrutinised many times, by auditors, by regulators, by investors and this is perfectly clear.

"We did cooperate with this process. We delivered a long list of documents and support that we believe is irrefutable evidence that the claims are not true and it was hard because we did this in the context of information being leaked to the media in the context of feeling that every step of the way, every engagement we had, we felt that we were considered guilty before anything was even discussed, but at the end, this is an internal process that has been initiated and then prosecuted and then judged by this FFP chamber at UEFA.

"Of course, a lot of people come now and say, 'Well, what were you expecting? This is the way it works. You should have expected a negative outcome the way the system is designed'. But we didn't believe that.  We worked very hard. We provided the evidence but in the end this FFP investigatory chamber relied more on out-of-context stolen emails than all the other evidence we provided of what actually happened and I think it is normal that we feel like we feel. Ultimately, based on our experience and our perception, this seems to be less about justice and more about politics.

"We went to CAS mid-process because it was clear to us that we were not having a fair process and we were concerned. We were specifically concerned about the leaks, the constant leak of information. CAS said there was merit in our complaint, they said that the leaks were 'worrisome' and they said they would judge it when process has finished. The process has finished now; we are going to CAS again.

"We are looking for an early resolution obviously through a thorough process and a fair process so my best hope is that this will be finished before the beginning of the summer and until then for us, it is business as usual.

"The experience with this FFP investigatory chamber has been negative for us, more than what I would have imagined. But this is not UEFA. We are not talking about the whole of UEFA, which is an association of associations. I personally know many people that work at UEFA, very hard for the benefit of UEFA, but also for the benefit of the clubs of UEFA like ours, but also for the benefit of football.

"All we are looking for is a proper adjudication in an independent and impartial body that is going to take the time to look at all the evidence and look at it without preconception. I am also looking for the end of this process maybe to put an end under this undertone that we are hearing all the time that anything that we do, any result that we get, is based only on money and not on talent and effort. The hundreds of people that work at this club know this is not true, that it is about effort and talent, so maybe, in the end, this is an opportunity."

The looming Champions League ban has prompted speculation over the futures of City's star players and manager Pep Guardiola, who has only a year left on his contract, but Soriano insists their focus is solely on football.

"Obviously, he has been kept informed about this process but this is not something for him to respond to," he said of Guardiola. "He is focused on the football, he is focusing on the game, the game at hand, the game today, tomorrow and the next weeks. As well as the players. They are calm, they are focused and this matter is more a business matter, a legal matter than a football manner.

"The fans can be sure of two things. The first one is that the allegations are false. And the second is that we will do everything that can be done to prove so. We know the fans are supporting us. We can feel it. Manchester City fans have gone through challenges over the decades. This is just another challenge."

Manchester United cannot keep changing their manager and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be given time to prove his worth, according to Robin van Persie.

Van Persie and Solskjaer had a public feud last month when the Dutchman urged the United boss to show more anger after a defeat to Arsenal.

Solskjaer did not take kindly to the suggestion, saying while Van Persie took his famous number 20 shirt at Old Trafford, he had no right to criticise his managerial style, vowing not to change.

But despite that spat and the club sitting seventh in the Premier League, the ex-United forward feels constant managerial changes are not beneficial.

If Solskjaer is United's man, Van Persie says they simply have to give him time.

"Especially after Alex Ferguson left, everyone realised that it would be tough to stick to that level that Ferguson achieved for all of those years," Van Persie, speaking courtesy of Enterprise rent-a-car, told Omnisport.

"I think everyone could see that. Now [David] Moyes has been there, [Louis] van Gaal, [Jose] Mourinho and Solskjaer. 

"Ferguson took time to adjust and get to a certain level. I don't think that it's ideal for the club to keep changing the manager every one or two years. 

"If you go for Solskjaer, go for him and give him time, that is what I think because the club needs to find some stability."

United had an encouraging 2-0 win at Chelsea on Monday, putting them within three points of the top four in the Premier League.

Van Persie was impressed by the display but feels a lack of consistency is holding United back against elite competition in the form of Liverpool and Manchester City.

"Now they win against Chelsea and to be fair they had a good game," added Van Persie.

"But you never know what's going to happen in the next few games. It's not consistent enough to be able to really play for the trophies. 

"It is difficult because you have to compete against Liverpool, who are unbelievable and Manchester City, who are brilliant. 

"Manchester City are not on the same level this year, but based on the last couple of years, they and Liverpool have been unbelievable. 

"That is the level United have to go to, that is consistency, and that is the hardest thing in football because the league is tough. 

"Even if you play against teams like Burnley away, teams like that are really difficult to get points against. You have to get everything right and that is a big challenge to get that consistency."

With United bidding to get back into the Champions League through a top-four finish, the Europa League gives them another avenue to the continent's elite club competition.

Solskjaer's men play Club Brugge in Belgium on Thursday in the first leg of their last-32 tie, with Van Persie seeing Ajax as the biggest rivals to United and Arsenal, another of his former teams.

"Arsenal and Manchester surely are the favourites to win," he said. 

"Ajax were knocked out of the Champions League in a harsh manner. That is also part of the game, unfortunately. They also have a chance at winning the Europa League and have a very good squad too.

"In the Europa League, Premier League clubs tend to field a mix of players up until the knockout phase. From this point on, they tend to use their best 11. Up until now it's been a mix between first-team players and substitutes. 

"I think they are in it to win it. That is the way they should prepare because it is a great title that is up for grabs."

LaLiga champions Barcelona are a club in crisis.

From public rows to allegations that say the current board were involved in hiring a PR firm to spread negative narratives about Barca legends, a claim the club have denied.

It has been a turbulent time at Camp Nou and MLS powerhouse LA Galaxy have looked to capitalise.

 

TOP STORY – GALAXY ENQUIRE ABOUT MESSI

LA Galaxy enquired about Barcelona captain Lionel Messi's interest in moving to the United States, according to Radio Continental.

Messi was involved in a public row with director of football Eric Abidal, raising doubts over his Barca future amid links to Manchester United, Manchester City, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain.

Galaxy head coach and former Boca Juniors boss Guillermo Barros Schelotto reportedly reached out to Messi's father to see if the six-time Ballon d'Or winner was open to swapping Barcelona for Los Angeles.

ROUND-UP

Paul Pogba is confident he will finally be granted an exit by Manchester United, reports the Evening Standard. Pogba – still recovering from an ankle injury – has been linked with a return to former club Juventus as well as LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Independent claims United are in advanced negotiations with former PSG technical director Antero Henrique. Ralf Rangnick is also reportedly being considered.

- RB Leipzig's head of sport Rangnick is still being targeted by Milan for the role as head coach, reports Calciomercato. However, the Italian club are split as Stefano Pioli leads a resurgence.

- According to Tuttosport, Serie A champions Juventus are interested in bringing Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus to Turin.

- France Football says Barca are eyeing Galatasaray's teenage sensation Mustafa Kapi. The 17-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season.

Chelsea have entered the race to sign in-demand Hellas Verona centre-back Marash Kumbulla, says Calciomercato. The 20-year-old Albania international is also wanted by Inter, Napoli, Liverpool, United and City.

Mino Raiola has attempted to cool a rift with Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and suggested Paul Pogba is open to talks regarding a contract extension.

Raiola and Solskjaer have traded several barbs over the past week as Pogba's future continues to be a subject of debate and uncertainty.

The France star's representative initially stated Pogba would be open to returning to Juventus due to seeing Italy as a "second home", but Solskjaer took issue with his comments, reminding Raiola the player belongs to United and not him.

Raiola fired back shortly before United's 2-0 win over Chelsea on Monday and insisted Pogba is not Solskjaer's property.

The Red Devils manager responded after the match and suggested he "probably won't" speak to Pogba nor Raiola about the back-and-forth, but the agent – who on Tuesday again insisted Solskjaer took certain words in the original interview out of context – now seems set on cooling the war of words as he hinted at potential contract talks.

"We are open for talks after he gets back [from injury]," Raiola told Sky Sports. "For now, there is a contract and the only thing he is focused on is getting back to fitness.

"When an agent represents any player, of course there will be talks about how to move on or move forward if you are still part of the plans for the manager, there is nothing strange about that.

"I thought my interview was very innocent when I said: 'Maybe one day he will return [to Italy] because it is like a second home.' But I didn't say he would come back next year or the year after. You never know if he will come back or not.

"For this kind of player, there can't be a lot of interest because not a lot of clubs can afford him. There are no talks with any clubs at the moment.

"I will reach out to Ole because nothing serious is going on. Certainly, I did not intend to have any disrespect to the club or towards him.

"Having players at Manchester United, I only want the best for the team and the club. I have nothing against Ole and I don't think he has anything against me.

"I did only think that saying Paul is Manchester United's was not the right reaction. I only wanted to respond to everyone who said that, because you employ a player therefore you own them and can do whatever you want with them.

"Paul has great commitment to the club, there is no question about that. Paul has a contract with Manchester United and wants to get back fit as quick as possible and back into the team to be a positive factor until the end of the season.

"In this moment, there are no talks [over Pogba's future]. He is only committed to Manchester United and he respects his contract. Everybody is worried about Pogba leaving, but I am not worried."

After Solskjaer had reminded Raiola that Pogba was their player and not his, the intermediary said the United manager should be worrying about other things rather than the future of his midfielder.

But Raiola clarified he simply meant Champions League qualification is United's focus and accepted publishing the statement just before a match was ill-timed.

"For the club, getting Champions League is more important," Raiola added. "This again was taken out of context and has been made bigger than it should be.

"I wasn't aware that Manchester United had a game, so it wasn't on purpose that I put that out before the game and maybe it wasn't the best timing.

"My words were taken out of context and it was maybe not the right platform to discuss this."

Paul Pogba is eager to leave Manchester United as he looks to compete in the Champions League, according to his brother Mathias.

Pogba has been at the centre of much speculation over the course of the season, with his United future up in the air since saying he wanted a new challenge in June.

The World Cup winner has been out of action since December due to an ankle injury and has made just seven Premier League appearances this term.

On Monday, prior to United's 2-0 win over Chelsea, Pogba's representative Mino Raiola let rip at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on social media, with the agent then reiterating his stance on Tuesday in an interview with talkSPORT.

Pogba's older brother Mathias has revealed his sibling wants to bring an end to his stay at United, who he re-joined from Juventus for a club-record fee of £89million (€105m) in 2016.

"Everyone knows that Paul wants to leave Manchester United, he wants to play Champions League football and win titles," the 29-year-old – now playing for Spanish minnows Lorca – told El Chiringuito.

"We all know that won't happen at United. We will see what happens this summer."

Despite the friction over Pogba's situation, Raiola insisted on Tuesday there are no issues between himself and United.

"There's no division between me and Manchester United. Ole already snapped out at me two times but that's onto him," the Dutchman told talkSPORT.

Raiola also hit out at Gary Neville in the interview, after the Sky Sports pundit and former United player suggested the club should no longer do business with the agent, who also represents stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Matthijs de Ligt.

"Gary Neville has such a big know-how of football that I'm surprised that his Salford City are not in the Premier League already," Raiola said.

"He should be on the board of directors at United and maybe ask them for a job. I don't care what Gary Neville says."

Pep Guardiola's agent reiterated his client "always fulfills his contracts" amid fresh speculation regarding the Manchester City boss' future following UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) sanctions.

Last week City were hit with a two-season ban from European competition for "serious breaches" of FFP regulations, a suspension meted out after an investigation found the Premier League champions guilty of "overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016".

City have denied wrongdoing throughout the process and intend to appeal the punishments, which also include a €30million fine, yet the possibility of not playing in Europe for two seasons has led to questions about the future of their key players and manager.

Prior to the UEFA sanctions, Guardiola had stated his wish to see out his City contract and remain in Manchester until 2021, and his agent Josep Maria Orobitg suggested nothing has changed on that front.

"Guardiola always fulfils all his contracts," he told El Mundo.

"And this [contract with City] concludes in June 2021."

Guardiola left Barcelona at the end of his one-year rolling contract in 2012 after four hugely successful seasons with his boyhood club.

He then spent three seasons with Bayern Munich, again vacating the post when his contract ran out.

Guardiola was appointed City boss in 2016 and he signed fresh terms in May 2018, shortly after his team won the Premier League title with a record-breaking 100 points.

Should he complete his current contract at the Etihad Stadium, the time at City would be Guardiola's longest stint at a club.

Jose Mourinho does not anticipate following Barcelona's lead and trying to sign an emergency striker for Tottenham as he joked former Spurs forward Peter Crouch would be his first port of call.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that Son Heung-min had joined fellow Tottenham attacker Harry Kane on the sidelines after he fractured his arm in Sunday's 3-2 win over Aston Villa.

Mourinho revealed he does not expect Son to play again this season, while Kane also faces a battle to return from a torn hamstring injury sustained in January.

LaLiga giants Barcelona are thought to be pursuing signing an emergency striker outside the transfer window due to Ousmane Dembele's long-term injury, though Mourinho does not think Spurs could attempt to do likewise as he quipped Crouch could fill the void.

"I didn't [explore that possibility]," Mourinho said of signing an emergency striker.

"I was not aware of that possibility. I don't think it's possible, honestly, I don't think it's possible.

"[Maybe] Peter Crouch!"

Crouch spent two seasons with Spurs between 2009 and 2011 and he scored seven times in 10 games during their 2010-11 Champions League campaign.

Without Son and Kane, Mourinho may have to resort to playing one of Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn or Dele Alli in an unfamiliar central-attacking berth.

Tottenham do have one striker in their senior squad in 18-year-old Troy Parrott.

Yet, with a Champions League last-16 clash against RB Leipzig preceding a Premier League showdown against fellow top-four hopefuls Chelsea this week, Mourinho is not prepared to roll the dice on a teenager who has played only 71 minutes across all competitions this term.

"My thoughts are that Parrott is not ready and [Ryan] Sessegnon is not a striker," Mourinho added in a news conference with reporters ahead of the home leg against Leipzig.

Paul Pogba's agent Mino Raiola fired back at Manchester United great Gary Neville on Wednesday and once again blasted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for his "out of line" comments.

Raiola let rip at Solskjaer on social media moments before United's Premier League clash at Chelsea kicked off on Monday, a 2-0 win for the Norwegian's men which Pogba once again missed with his ongoing ankle problem.

The agent was livid with Solskjaer's pre-match assertion that "Paul is our player, not Mino's", with Raiola suggesting the under-pressure United boss should be worrying about things other than Pogba.

Sky Sports pundit Neville, who made 602 appearances for United during his career and is now a part-owner of League Two team Salford City, responded by saying his former club should no longer do business with Raiola.

Speaking on talkSPORT on Wednesday, Raiola said: "Gary Neville has such a big know-how of football that I'm surprised that his Salford City are not in the Premier League already.

"He should be on the board of directors at United and maybe ask them for a job. I don't care what Gary Neville says."

Raiola claimed Solskjaer misinterpreted an interview he conducted in Italy in which he was asked whether former Juventus midfielder Pogba would like a return to the country.

However, the agent stressed his assertion that "Italy is like home" for Pogba was merely his own personal point of view.

"I thought what Solskjaer said was out of line because he took part of sentences of an interview of mine and acted a little bit offended about it - that I was offering Paul Pogba to other clubs without permission whatsoever," Raiola added.

"If you read the whole interview, I was asked if Paul would fancy Italy and I said, 'Well, Italy is a second home'. But that's not the case now, he's concentrated on Manchester United, on getting back in the team as soon as possible and to make a great end to the season'.

"I've never said he's my [player].

"I've been asked if he would like Italy and I'm only answering as Mino Raiola."

Raiola went on to add: "There's no division between me and Manchester United.

"Ole already snapped out at me two times but that's onto him.

"It can be my opinion, that his comments about an article - that actually says that Paul is committed to Manchester United until the European Championship, and that is his only focus for now - was taken out of context, and [Solskjaer] should have read the whole thing."

France international Pogba, who returned to Old Trafford in a record deal from Juventus in 2016, has not played for Solskjaer's side since December and both Neville and his former United team-mate Roy Keane said they expected him to leave the club after this season.

For his own part, Raiola offered no long-term assurances beyond this campaign.

"He is committed to Manchester United, only to Manchester United, and to the European Championship for this year. After that, we will take to the club if necessary," Raiola added of Pogba.

"That is what I said in Italy and that is what I'm saying here."

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