EPL

CAS verdict a good day for football - Guardiola defends City against Klopp, Mourinho barbs

By Sports Desk July 14, 2020

For all that he expressed delight over the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) quashing his club's two-year ban from UEFA competitions, Pep Guardiola looked ready to fight long, hard and persistently to clear Manchester City's name.

Guardiola addressed reporters on Tuesday, ostensibly to preview Wednesday's Premier League match Bournemouth.

The relegation-threatened Cherries, team news or any of the other usual staples were not on the agenda.

A little over 24 hours earlier, CAS found in City's favour, stating UEFA's allegations of Financial Fair Play breaches were either "not established" or "time-barred" under the governing body's own regulations.

Speaking shortly before Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp said the verdict had amounted to "a bad day for football", while Jose Mourinho branded it "a disgraceful decision".

"All I say, for all their opinions, is I tell Jose and Jurgen it was a good day for football. A really good day," said Guardiola, addressing the other halves of his two most enduring touchline rivalries.

"It was clear what happened. And that's nice.

"I have my long history, I have a lot of respect – not just for the manager of Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool but for all the managers I face.

"But I don't expect they are going to defend my club. But I wanted to defend my club, in the good and especially in the bad moments."

By that stage, there could be no doubts over how Guardiola wished to use his latest appointment with the media. It was a relentless and impassioned defence against perceived slights suffered by the Abu Dhabi-owned club.

According to UEFA's most recent Club Licensing Benchmarking Report, City's 2018 net spend of €282million was the highest on record for any club, while their total squad cost of €971m ranked as the most expensive in history.

The 2018-19 domestic treble winners have been a transformed force in English football since their 2008 takeover, winning six of the past eight major English honours on offer, but Guardiola contended heavy spending has always been a factor for the most successful teams in the sport.

"A lot of clubs invest. When [Manchester] United and Arsenal won the leagues in the period before, they invested more money than the other ones," he said.

"When Chelsea started to win Premier Leagues, they invested more money than the other ones.

"I'm a good manager, but I don't win titles if I don't have good players and good players are expensive.

"All the clubs spend a lot of money – Barcelona spend a lot of money, Real Madrid spend a lot of money, the English teams spend a lot of money.

"We built a club in terms of the last decade. To compete with the elite of the Premier League and the Champions League, we needed to invest."

Guardiola also cited the experience of Manchester United being able to put together more substantial financial packages to secure Alexis Sanchez and Harry Maguire at City's expense as evidence his club's means are not limitless.

"We have a lot of money but we wanted Alexis Sanchez. We could not afford him. We wanted Harry Maguire but we could not afford him. We could not pay like United paid," he added.

"We have money but the other clubs have money too. Did we spend more in the last decade than in the past? Yes.

"But 25, 30 years ago, Arsene Wenger – the guy who defends perfectly Financial Fair Play, so, Arsene, you know Manchester City were correct in what we have done – spent a lot of money to be there.

"United with Sir Alex Ferguson spent a lot of money to be there. All the clubs, if you want to be on top. If you don't, it's more difficult."

Aside from arguing for his own achievements in Manchester to be given a fair hearing – "what we won here, guys, was on the pitch" – Guardiola also seemed to be motivated by a genuine affection for the club he joined from Bayern Munich in 2016.

"I love this club. I love it because I know the people here have been working for a long time," he added.

"We have our history. I don't know if it is better or worse – it doesn't matter. It's our history, I love it.

"Manchester City don't have to apologise because the three independent judges decided we have done everything properly.

"It is clear. More than clear is impossible."

Related items

  • Mourinho the right man to get the best out of Bale, says Poyet Mourinho the right man to get the best out of Bale, says Poyet

    Gareth Bale can make a difference in key moments as Jose Mourinho is the right coach to get the best out of him, according to former Tottenham midfielder Gus Poyet.  

    Spurs moved to bring Bale back to north London on loan from Real Madrid for the 2020-21 campaign back in September.  

    The move was welcomed by supporters, who had hopes Bale could replicate the form that made him a fan favourite and twice led to the Wales international being named PFA Players' Player of the Year.  

    However, issues with injury and form have seen Bale start just once in the Premier League so far, while he has managed just one top-flight goal.  

    Across all competitions, Bale has 13 appearances, four goals, no assists, has created nine chances (two of which are defined by Opta as 'big chances'), while having 10 shots on target.  

    Prior to the FA Cup tie against Wycombe Wanderers on Monday, Mourinho said Bale had to earn his minutes after it was suggested he could benefit from more playing time.  

    Bale responded with a goal and an impressive showing in a 4-1 victory in that tie and Poyet – who played for Spurs between 2001 and 2004 – feels Mourinho is the ideal man to help the 31-year-old prosper.

    "I think you as a coach - and especially with the experience of Jose - you really believe in your way of managing," Poyet told Stats Perform News.  

    "And let's say it wasn't as easy as probably Jose thought. Because he was up and down.   

    "Now, I think he is still playing a part, even if it's in moments, he is still a player that at any time, any game, he can give you the difference between winning or not winning a game.   

    "I think we can see something, especially if he keeps himself fit. That's the key to the situation. So, you know, it's not only training well, it's about being fit enough to perform well.   

    "And there is a limit to Gareth at the moment, physically, that if he goes above that level, he can get injured. To control those levels is very, very difficult. But if there is someone who can do it, definitely it's Mourinho."

  • Man Utd demand action over racist abuse from 'anonymous mindless idiots' Man Utd demand action over racist abuse from 'anonymous mindless idiots'

    Manchester United have called on social media giants to step up efforts to banish racist abuse from their platforms after Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe were targeted. 

    The United players received racist messages on Twitter and Instagram after United's 2-1 home defeat to Sheffield United on Wednesday. 

    Captain Harry Maguire said the club "will not tolerate" such behaviour. 

    In a statement, United said: "Everyone at Manchester United is disgusted by the racial abuse received by players via social media after last night's game. 

    "We utterly condemn it and it is encouraging to see other fans condemn this on social media also. 

    "Manchester United has zero tolerance of any form of racism or discrimination and a long-standing commitment to campaigning against it through our All Red All Equal initiative. 

    "Identifying these anonymous mindless idiots remains problematic. We urge social media platforms and regulatory authorities to strengthen measures to prevent this kind of behaviour."

    The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) revealed research in October that showed racist messages to players are disturbingly commonplace. 

    Of the sample of Premier League players it looked at in its study, the PFA said 43 per cent experienced online "targeted and explicitly racist abuse". 

    Speaking at the time about the findings of that research, Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling said social media operators must "show real leadership and take proper action in tackling online abuse". 

    Sterling added: "The technology is there to make a difference, but I’m increasingly questioning if there is the will."

  • Odegaard fighting losing battle with Messi comparison, says Arsenal boss Arteta Odegaard fighting losing battle with Messi comparison, says Arsenal boss Arteta

    Martin Odegaard was always fighting a "lost battle" with comparisons to Lionel Messi but has the characteristics needed to flourish at Arsenal, says Mikel Arteta. 

    The Gunners completed a deal to take Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the season on Wednesday, handing the attacking midfielder the number 11 shirt that was worn by Mesut Ozil when he joined the club. 

    Odegaard was signed by Los Blancos from Stromsgodset as a prodigious teenager and has had loan spells in the Eredivisie with Heerenveen and Vitesse before impressing in a temporary stint with Real Sociedad last term. 

    Madrid opted to recall him for the 2020-21 campaign, though the 22-year-old struggled to nail down a regular spot in Zinedine Zidane's team. 

    Arteta is excited by Odegaard's qualities but did urge caution, saying comparisons to Barcelona great Messi are unhelpful. 

    "I wouldn't even get close to that name you just mentioned [Messi] because it's a lost battle in my opinion. Martin is Martin," Arteta said when previewing Saturday's clash with Manchester United. 

    "In the last few seasons he's progressed and developed in the right way. I follow him very closely because he played for Real Sociedad which is my hometown and I know him really well. 

    "He's such a talent. He needs the right environment, a little bit of time, but he's got the qualities to be a success for us. He's a specialist to playing in the pockets, to be in the number eight, number 10 positions. 

    "He can play on the sides, a really creative player, really comfortable on the ball in tight spaces, the capacity to create chances, to score goals. 

    "Something he has improved a lot is his work rate without the ball as well. It's another option to give us more creativity in the final third."

    Last season, Odegaard topped Sociedad's squad for chances created in LaLiga, crafting 62 opportunities in total as he provided six assists from 31 appearances. He also boasted an impressive passing accuracy of 84.74 per cent. 

    This term he has been afforded just three LaLiga starts by Zidane, albeit Arteta made clear several factors will determine whether a permanent deal will be struck. 

    "He has certainly all the qualities and characteristics that we are looking for," he added. 

    "Then it would be down to two things – first of all, how well he adapts here and how much of an impact he can have in our team, and second, what Real Madrid and the player thinks about it because he's owned by Real Madrid and the player has a big say on that. 

    "I just wanted to give him a clear picture of who we are as a club, what we are trying to do, what we expect from him, just try to transmit the passion and excitement that we had to bring him in. 

    "I wanted to show him the project, how he fits and just try to persuade him that this is the right place for him and try to make things work." 

    Arsenal are on a six-match unbeaten run in the Premier League to improve their previously precarious top-flight standing to ninth. 

    They welcome a Manchester United side who saw their own 13-match unbeaten league run surprisingly ended by rock-bottom Sheffield United on Wednesday. 

    "It's not a surprise because to beat any team in this league is extremely difficult and it's not taken for granted," Arteta said when asked about that game.  

    "Sheffield United are a really good threat and you see that. They've lost games they didn't deserve to lose." 

    Arsenal were the last side to beat United in the league before the Blades' unlikely triumph, while they have not lost to the Red Devils since an FA Cup defeat in January 2019. 

    Still, Arteta says there is nothing to be gleaned from a decent recent record against United. 

    "I think every game is completely different, they have the capacity and the quality to beat any side in the world, we know we’re going to have to be at our best," he said. 

    "The games are huge, we need to be better than what we were on Tuesday [a 3-1 win at Southampton] to beat them. 

    "They've been in top form. They've been top of the table playing really well. We know they are a real threat. We have to be at our best to beat them on Saturday."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.