Last Friday, the Citizens were handed a fine and issued a two-year ban from the UEFA Champions League, which will come into effect from next season, subject to an appeal by the club. On learning of the news, the City manager fixed an urgent meeting with his players and staff on Saturday, in order to discuss their next move. In the meeting, the Spaniard asked his players to restrain themselves in the build-up to a crucial fortnight ahead.
Manchester City are up against West Ham United in a rescheduled Premier League fixture on Wednesday before facing Leicester City on Sunday. The following week, Guardiola’s charges will travel to the Santiago Bernabeu to face Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League and then take on Aston Villa in the League Cup final on 1st March.
The Spaniard is adamant that his side will not be affected by UEFA’s decision and wants Manchester City to finish the season on a strong note.
Guardiola wants his players to be focussed and motivated despite the ban
During the meeting with his players and staff last Saturday, Guardiola asked for a high level of professionalism and responsibility from his squad. Well aware of the detrimental effect the ban can have on his players, the Spaniard asked them to stay away from the limelight for the next fortnight. Guardiola requested his charges not to give interviews and also asked the players to distance themselves from publicity stunts and big family gatherings.
The Spaniard’s ultimate purpose was to ensure that his team are fully focussed on the UEFA Champions League and are not distracted by the events unfolding around them. Guardiola also insisted that his players eat well, rest and stay motivated in training. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager ended his speech on a positive note, challenging his players to prove themselves on the pitch and show the world that they are about football, not money.
Published 18 Feb 2020, 17:27 IST