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He should wait – Pep Guardiola asks Aleksander Ceferin to ‘respect’ the process

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, pictured, has hit back at UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, pictured, has hit back at UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Pep Guardiola has hit back at UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin over comments the European governing body was right to punish the club for financial irregularities.

UEFA banned City from European competition for two years in February 2020 for breaching its Financial Fair Play rules but the ban was later overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

CAS found that some of the charges against City were “not established” and others were time-barred.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin
Pep Guardiola disagrees with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin (Mike Egerton/PA)

Yet Ceferin is adamant his organisation was correct, telling the Daily Telegraph: “We know we were right. We wouldn’t decide if we didn’t think we were right.”

His remarks came as City await a Premier League hearing after being charged with 115 breaches of their domestic competition’s profit and sustainability rules.

City manager Guardiola feels that by speaking out now, Ceferin has not respected the ongoing process.

Guardiola said: “As the lawyer that he is, as president of UEFA, he should wait – and after do whatever he wants.

“He has to respect it and he has to wait. He has a lot of jobs to do at UEFA. A lawyer should respect the procedure. He knows we have the right to defend ourselves.”

Guardiola was speaking at a press conference to preview his side’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Tottenham on Friday.

Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, right
Manchester City’s Erling Haaland is not quite ready to return (Bradley Collyer/PA)

City will again be without striker Erling Haaland but the Norwegian is now nearing a return after almost two months out with a foot injury.

Guardiola said: “He is on the verge of coming back. For Friday he is not ready but he is close.

“The training camp was good, he trained some sessions. The last few days he’s trained but it is not perfect and we will wait a little bit more.”

John Stones is back in contention after an ankle injury but fellow defender Manuel Akanji remains on the sidelines. Goalkeeper Ederson is also fit after limping off in City’s last game at Newcastle.

City have lost on all five of their previous visits to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium without even scoring a goal.

Guardiola said: “That is the reality, (and shows) how tough it is for us.

“Of course this is a ‘final’, a knockout game and to go through we have to score goals. Always it is a new opportunity to break it.

“The feeling is most of the times we played really good but the reality is there, no goals, five defeats – so they were much better than us.”