Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has surprisingly aimed an unexpected dig at rivals Arsenal saying the Gunners do not command a lot of respect from him for the themselves off the pitch.
The Gunners had successfully sprung a trap for City that resulted in their 2-0 win in the FA Cup semi-final over the weekend, something for which Guardiola has said he fully respects as opponents on the pitch.
That made explicitly clear, the City boss has been quoted by BBC Sport for his comment as criticising Arsenal’s conduct off the pitch, which the report suggests could be attributable to the north London giant’s apparently perceived complicity in trying to get the Etihad club banned from the Champions League recently, before City eventually won their appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“Opponents always deserve my respect and credit. I have all the respect for what Arsenal are on the pitch, not much off the pitch – but on the pitch, a lot,” Guardiola said.
It does appear that Guardiola is still harboring some resentment about Arsenal purportedly spearheading efforts along with other Premier League clubs to incite football’s authority;s madin body UEFA to inflict punitive measures against City. BBC Sport also notes that Arsenal could also possibly have incurred the wrath of their rivals with the manner in which they had approached Mikel Arteta to leave City and join them as head coach earlier this season.
Arteta had been Guardiola’s assistant at the Etihad Stadium and the two were known to enjoy an excellent rapport both on and off the pitch before being poached to replace Unai Emery at the Emirates Stadium in December.