Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City deserve their place in next season’s Champions League ahead of today’s decision on their appeal against a two-year European ban.
Raheem Sterling’s superb hat-trick and goals from Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva earned City a 5-0 success against Brighton at the Amex Stadium, which assures them of finishing runners-up to Premier League champions Liverpool and secures them qualification to the Champions League next season.
However, the club will today discover the outcome of their appeal against a two-year ban from European club competitions following alleged breaches of club licensing and financial fair play regulations.
Guardiola, speaking to Sky Sports, says his players deserve to be in next season’s competition after earning their place on the pitch.
“Today, we achieved one incredible challenge, which is the qualification for the Champions League mathematically,” he said.
“That is the challenge that is the minimum requirement for this club. And these players have done it for the last six or seven years.
“We deserve to be there because we won it on the pitch. Hopefully today (Monday) UEFA can allow us to play like this team and these players deserve to.”
Manchester City will find out today at 9.30am whether their appeal against their two-year European ban is successful.
City have always vigorously denied any wrongdoing after they were sanctioned by UEFA’s club financial control body (CFCB) for breaches of club licensing and financial fair play regulations, and their appeal against the punishment was heard over three days by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, City boss Guardiola revealed he is extremely optimistic about receiving positive news on Monday.
“It’s the decision, so it’s so important, of course it is,” the Spaniard said of the appeal verdict.
“What we have done is win our qualification on the pitch. Nobody can doubt about this.
“In general the level we played today was quite similar all the season and now we are going to wait until when the decision of UEFA will be taken.”
Asked if he was hopeful about the appeal being successful, Guardiola replied: “A lot.”
While hopes of lifting the Premier League title were ended long ago, City still hope to add Champions League and FA Cup trophies to the Carabao Cup they won in February.
And Guardiola says his team are now ready for the final stages of the season following their emphatic win over Brighton.
“I was pleased with everything tonight – the result and the levels we reached,” he added.
“We are now at a good level and are ready to play the last games of the Premier League and in the Champions League.
“We’ve forgotten the Southampton result (1-0 defeat last Sunday) as we played incredibly well there.
Football sometimes is strange. We just didn’t score there. We’re a team who create a lot of chances and today we converted them.”
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