MANCHESTER, England — Pep Guardiola is confident Manchester City will not receive a Champions League ban despite a UEFA investigation into a possible contravention of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
An independent investigation was opened by European football’s governing body into the Premier League champions following allegations published in German magazine Der Spiegel and reports claim City could be banned from the competition if FFP rules have been flouted.
“We will not be banned, no,” Guardiola told a news conference ahead of City’s clash with Chelsea on Saturday. “That’s what I think because I trust in my chairman, [Khaldoon Al-Mubarak] with my CEO, [Ferran Soriano] what they have explained to me.
“I trust in them. If it happens, because UEFA decide that, we will accept it and move forward.”
Meanwhile, the City boss says his side’s victory at Chelsea was a crucial moment for their record-breaking title season. Kevin De Bruyne, recently named the best attacking midfielder in the world in the ESPN FC 100, scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge in September 2017, which was City’s first away to a title rival and helped them to a record-breaking 18-game winning streak.
“Last season winning there was more than three points, it showed we could do it,” Guardiola said. “It was an important step for last season, the first important game away against the last champion. In that moment, it was important to say we can go anywhere and deliver a good performance — winning and with a good performance.
“And since we have continued in that vein and the target is to try to do it again. In these sort of games of course we want to win but I’m more focused on our behaviour. How we are as a team on those sort of stages. That’s what I want to see from my team.”
De Bruyne was instrumental in that victory but he has already been ruled out of Saturday’s game with a knee injury along with striker Sergio Aguero, who has a slight muscle strain.
City are two points clear at the top of the table despite De Bruyne only make three appearances from the bench this season and the game at Stamford Bridge will be the last away to a top-five rival.
“I would prefer to play at home than away but the first season we were together we played better away than at home,” Guardiola added. “So we will see when we play against them what our condition is, our way of playing.
“I prefer in the second part of the season for the teams to come here to play us at home but at the end next week against Everton, it’s the same three points as tomorrow at Stamford Bridge and Watford a few days ago.
“If you are going to win the league you have to be consistent. It’s true when you play the big contenders you take points off them and they don’t get points, it’s a hypothetical six points and that’s why it’s so important.”
Jorginho will line up against Guardiola’s side, but the Italy international could have been in the away dressing room had he not turned down City and decided to follow Maurizio Sarri from Napoli.
That decision has put more pressure on Fernandinho as the only holding midfielder at the club, but the Brazilian has been in outstanding form.
“I’m not going to say it’s a bad decision [of Jorginho’s], he knows the manager and the club,” Guardiola said. “It’s an exceptional club, he didn’t come to compete with Fernandinho just to be part of the team, but what Ferna has done is incredible.
“I understand completely most of the good things we have is thanks to that guy. I’m very pleased for him and there are many things. Very few players can do what he does.”