Man City were beaten by the Gunners in FA Cup semi-final just days after two-year Champions League ban was overturned
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola aimed a barb at Arsenal by saying he has a lot of respect for the team on the pitch but not much for the club off it.
His former assistant Mikel Arteta masterminded a 2-0 victory over his side in the FA Cup semi-final as City suffered their first domestic cup defeat in more than two-and-a-half years.
Guardiola did congratulate the Gunners for their success on the pitch after admitting his team’s first-half performance was not good enough.
“We didn’t play the first half against Arsenal like the second, that was the only regret. We wanted to play 90 minutes like the second half,” he told a press conference.
“But, after we were beaten, we shake hands. The opponents always deserve my respect and credit. And Arsenal, I have all the respect for what they are on the pitch, not much off the pitch – but on the pitch, a lot. Congratulations to them and good luck in the final.”
Guardiola did not expand on why he does not have respect for the Gunners but they were believed to be part of group of Premier League clubs that wrote to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) asking them to refuse any attempt from City to delay a two-year Champions League ban.
In addition, a newspaper report claims that Arsenal were the driving force behind the move before City were cleared of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play breaches .
Saturday’s defeat to Arsenal shifts the all the focus to the Champions League round-of-16 against Real Madrid, with the final Premier League games against Watford and Norwich having no impact on their guaranteed second-place finish.