Pep Guardiola channels inner Roy Keane as he comes out fighting to defend City


There was no holding back on Tuesday, as angry Pep Guardiola channelled his inner Roy Keane.

All of Guardiola’s frustration over the sneers and jibes ­directed at Manchester City came out in a fiery outburst that would have earned the ­former Manchester United hardman’s approval.

This was Guardiola’s version of Keane’s infamous tunnel clash with Patrick Vieira, where the former Red Devils skipper snarled at his rival: “We’ll see you out there.”

The message from Guardiola was delivered with a similarly chilling threat, warning those who tried but failed to bring City down: “Now try to beat us on the pitch.”

Pep Guardiola has seen Manchester City successfully appeal their UEFA ban

Rarely has he been so ­animated facing the media, launching an impassioned ­defence of his club’s reputation, which he claimed had been ­restored with the overturning of their Champions League ban.

Throughout the UEFA ­investigation and appeal ­process, Guardiola was ­adamant justice would prevail and that City would be reinstated into the Champions League.

After his faith was vindicated, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport upholding City’s ­appeal, the manager gave the club’s critics both barrels, ­warning them to expect ­payback on the pitch.

Guardiola said: “What ­happened in recent years, how many times people came to our club to whisper about us?

“I would like to say to these kind of people, ‘Look into our eyes and say something face to face’, then go to the pitch and play.

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This was Guardiola’s version of Keane’s infamous tunnel clash with Patrick Vieira

“After, if they beat us, I won’t hesitate to shake their hands and we will congratulate them, but they lost off the pitch.

“They have to go on the pitch and try to beat us. I said many times, if we did something wrong, we would accept our ban. But we can play in the Champions League next season because what we’ve done is right. They have to accept it, go on the pitch and play against us.

“I know that for elite clubs, especially Liverpool, United, Arsenal, it’s uncomfortable us being here. But they have to understand we deserve to be with them, competing with them.

“We want to go on the pitch competing with them and try to achieve the things that they have achieved in the past ­decades. We deserve to be stronger, year by year.

Keane and Vieira had numerous altercations on the pitch

“We don’t have to ask ­permission to be there, we ­deserve to be there. When we lose, I will shake the hand of my opponents and colleagues, as we have always done.

“We have invested a lot of money, like a lot of clubs, but we did the right thing. If not, we would be banned, and we’re not banned because we followed FFP rules.”

Guardiola defended City’s huge investment over the past decade, but said even they have limitations, despite being bankrolled by owner Sheikh ­Mansour’s ­billions.

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“We have a lot of money but we wanted Alexis Sanchez and we couldn’t afford it,” said Guardiola. “We wanted Harry Maguire but we could not afford it.

Guardiola was firm in his response to Man City’s critics

“We couldn’t pay like United pay, so we have money, but the other clubs have money, too.

“We spent, in the last decade, more than in the past, yes, but 25 years ago Arsenal with Arsene Wenger, the guy who defended FFP, spent big too.

“Arsene, you know ­Manchester City was ­correct
in what we have done.

“Arsene, you know Arsenal spent a lot of money to be there, United spent a lot of money with Sir Alex Ferguson to be there. All the clubs do, if you want to be at the top.”





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