Pep Guardiola has told Manchester City players he is committed to the club, saying: “Even if they put us in League Two, I will still be here.”
Raheem Sterling is also committed to City despite UEFA handing the club a two-year suspension from European competition for Financial Fair Play rule breaches, a ruling the club are appealing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Since Friday’s ruling, there has been speculation Guardiola could choose to walk away from City.
However, the Catalan has told City players: “Look, whatever league we are in, I will still be here.
“Even if they put us in League Two, I will still be here. This is a time for sticking together.”
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Guardiola’s deal expires at the end of the 2020/21 season and he has no intention of cutting it short. The 49-year-old has never broken a contract as a manager.
As well as Guardiola, Sterling is also understood to be totally committed to City and will not push for a move, despite the absence of European football.
The 25-year-old and his team-mates are believed to be focusing on finishing the season strongly – particularly in the Champions League, given it could be their last season in the competition for two years.
Sterling and the rest of City’s players are leaving the handling of the UEFA ban to the club’s hierarchy.
City CEO Ferran Soriano told the squad: “Trust me like I trust you, this will be dropped.”
One person close to City players has told Sky Sports News that the players are only interested in playing football: “No one is going to kick up a fuss or rock the boat until the full facts come out.”
Another source says the players still have faith in the people running the club: “Since this all started, they’ve all been told that City have done nothing wrong.
UEFA say City “overstated its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016”.
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European football’s governing body also say City were guilty of “failing to cooperate in the investigation by the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB)”.
City responded by saying they were “disappointed but not surprised” and described the process as “prejudicial”.
They have also stated their intention to appeal the punishment with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.