Guardiola refuses to discuss Man City’s tough CL draw ahead of imminent CAS verdict

Pep Guardiola says he is not focused on Manchester City’s tough Champions League draw ahead of an imminent verdict on the club’s European suspension from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

City were hit with a two-season ban from continental qualification after being found guilty of breaching UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations, though the club have denied any wrongdoing and have submitted an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The verdict of that appeal is now imminent, though Guardiola is only focussing on making progress in this year’s tournament, as well as getting past Arsenal in their FA Cup semi-final next weekend.

“The first target we had when we came back is to qualify for the Champions League,” Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference.

“We have lost two games, doing a good performance but we know you have to win games. At the same time, the games we play at home we were so strong in the way we played and the target now is the knockout game against Arsenal, and especially the second leg against Madrid.”

City remain in contention to lift the Champions League this season and learned their fate for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the competition today, the Premier League side to face a last eight meeting with either Juventus or Lyon should they progress following their last-16 second leg with Real Madrid.

Barcelona or Bayern Munich potentially wait in the semi-finals of the competition with City having been placed on the harder side of the draw, though Guardiola refused to comment on potential fixtures until his side have successfully navigated their second leg against 13-times winners Real.

“I will invite you to a future press conference to ask me this question after the game against Real Madrid,” the two-time Champions League winner said. “I cannot answer this because I am not there.

“Maybe in this club and organisation, there is nobody better who knows Real Madrid better than me. I saw the draw, maybe two or three hours later the draw was made.

“I have Brighton because we didn’t win the last three games, and continue to prepare the game against Arsenal and Madrid. That is what I have in my head and my heart.”

The Spaniard did, however, comment on the club’s ongoing CAS appeal and says he is ‘confident’ the decision will be overturned on appeal with a verdict expected to be announced on Monday.

“The intention every season is to play in the Champions League and do the best possible. It is not about what will happen on Monday.

“I’m so confident because I saw the arguments of the club that next season we will be there but we have to wait and after I give my opinion or the club will give their statement.”

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