Pep Guardiola infuriated by financial fair play question after FA Cup win | Football
Pep Guardiola was infuriated in the immediate aftermath of Manchester City’s historic domestic treble when asked by a reporter if he was being accused of “receiving money” through separate payments from the club’s Abu Dhabi owners.
City had just trounced Watford 6-0 but Guardiola’s celebrations were soon marred when the subject was raised of previously reported leaks concerning alleged payments to his predecessor Roberto Mancini to keep within Uefa’s financial fair play regulations. City have long strongly denied any wrongdoing but this past week it has been suggested that Uefa may impose a one-year ban on their competing in the Champions League, following an investigation.
Asked if he had received any similar extra payments by a reporter from Associated Press, Guardiola fumed: “Do you know the question you’re asking me? Did I receive money for another situation, right now, today? Honestly, do you think I deserve to have this type of question, the day we won the treble, did I receive money? Are you accusing me of receiving money?”
He added: “I said yesterday, we are not guilty until it’s proven. This club makes a big step forward with the investment [we have made]. Can you do that without top players? No way. Money helps to buy the incredible players we have, yes.
“But [regarding the Uefa investigation] we wait, if we’re punished we accept it. But I listen to my chairman [Khaldoon al-Mubarak] and my CEO [Ferran Soriano], they give me the arguments for why we are under investigation and I trust them.
“They tell me we fair and we absolutely follow the rules, I believe them. If the opponents and contenders think it’s just about the money, it is OK.”
Guardiola did also get the chance to reflect on his side’s achievements on the pitch.
City’s sixth FA Cup triumph came thanks to a David Silva goal on 26 minutes, two from Gabriel Jesus (on 38 and 68), a double from Raheem Sterling (81 and 87) and a 61st-minute Kevin De Bruyne finish.The six goals took City to a record 169 in 61 games for the season, beating their own record of 156.
“This is one of the best seasons I’ve ever experienced as a manager,” he said. “I wouldn’t say the best but one of them. Ten months, playing all competitions, and no team has done this in this country.”
The one competition to elude City has been the European Cup. “I love the Champions League but to [win the domestic treble] is more difficult than the Champions League. For our organisation, all working here, they deserve all the compliments,” said Guardiola. “It’s not easy every 10 months being there [competing] because when you have a bad night you’re out. We had a little bit of lacking in energy today. But we keep the energy for the right time.”
Guardiola pinpointed as pivotal Ederson’s early save from Roberto Pereyra when the final was goalless. “The game could’ve been different then. But after 3-0 it was over,” he said. “It was 6-0 because the game became completely different.”
Guardiola is sure City can be as hungry again next term. “We did it this season, coming from [winning] the title with 100 points and the Carabao Cup,” he said. “We know each other better and the standards we need. We won four titles in a season [including the Community Shield]: incredible. Next season we don’t think about how any titles we need. We should come back after summer, try to be fit and we’ll see.”
Guardiola admitted to be being tired after the campaign’s exertions. “I’m not fresh,” he said. “But these kind of things you celebrate with calm over the summer: ‘Wow, we have done incredible.’”