Pep talk leaves Guardiola confident of avoiding UCL ban

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Pep Guardiola does not expect Manchester City to be banned from the UEFA Champions League, but insists the club will 'accept it and move forward' if they are punished by UEFA.

Reports suggest City could be suspended from Europe's top club competition if they are found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play regulations.

German magazine Der Spiegel made a number of claims against the Premier League champions last month, based on documents purportedly obtained from whistleblowing platform Football Leaks, which allegedly show they contravened rules on how much money owners are allowed to put into a club.

City dismissed the claims, insisting 'the attempt to damage the club's reputation is organised and clear', while UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin confirmed this week the organisation are 'assessing the situation', adding: "We have an independent body working on it. Very soon you will have an answer on what will happen in this concrete case."

However, after discussions with the club's hierarchy, Guardiola is confident they will again be competing in European football in the 2019-2020 season.

"We will not be banned," he told the media on Friday. "It's what I think, what I trust with my chairman, with my CEO, what they explain to me. I trust them.

"If it happens because UEFA decide that we will accept it and move forward."

Guardiola's immediate focus is on Chelsea, as the leaders head to Stamford Bridge for Saturday afternoon's (Sunday morning AEDT) kick-off in the Premier League.

City triumphed 1-0 in the same fixture last season, toppling the reigning champions thanks to a second-half goal from Kevin De Bruyne as they underlined their title credentials early in Guardiola's second season at the helm.

"Winning there last season was more than three points, it was to take part and see we can do it," the former Barcelona boss said.

"It was an important step last season, it was I think the first important game away, they were the last champion at that moment and it was important to say we can go anywhere and make a good performance, winning but also a good performance.

"And since then we continue in that way and the target is try to do it again. These kind of games, of course we want to win, but I'm more focused on how is our behaviour, how we are like as a team in these kind of stages. That is the most important thing."

The trip to Chelsea comes after City have already triumphed away at top-six rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur this season, while they picked up a point in a 0-0 draw against nearest rivals Liverpool at Anfield.

"Tomorrow we play against hypothetically one of the five strongest teams in the Premier League, four away," Guardiola - whose side defeated Manchester United 3-1 at home in the derby last month - added.

"We've played them all [away] except United at home and our behaviour was good. At home we were solid, scoring a lot of goals, creating a lot of chances.

"In a way, maybe against Tottenham it was not our best performance, Liverpool neither, but we compete like a solid team and that's a good thing."

Source Omnisport