‘I have all the respect on the pitch, not much off the pitch’: Pep Guardiola takes a swipe at Arsenal board as Manchester City boss underlines grievances over ‘Hateful Eight’ cabal and prising Mikel Arteta away
- Pep Guardiola has taken a swipe at Arsenal’s board over off-field activities
- Arsenal’s hierarchy were said to be the ringleaders of the ‘Hateful Eight’ cabal
- The club also prised Guardiola’s assistant, Mikel Arteta, from the club
- The Catalan coach is focusing on City’s Champions League clash with Madrid
City believe the Gunners were ringleaders of the so-called “Hateful Eight” cabal who attempted to obstruct the ultimately successful Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal, as revealed by Sportsmail.
Guardiola, whose side lost Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal, made a thinly veiled dig before tonight’s trip to Watford.
Pep Guardiola has hit out at Arsenal’s board over actions taken behind the scenes
He is unhappy with their role in the ‘Hateful Eight’ and prising Mikel Arteta (L) from the club
‘The opponents always deserve my respect and credit,’ he said. ‘Arsenal, I have all the respect for what they are on the pitch, not much off the pitch – but on the pitch, a lot.’ There is also understood to be consternation at City with the way in which Arsenal recruited former assistant manager, Mikel Arteta, last December.
Guardiola also queried last week whether Arsenal would back Arteta sufficiently in the transfer market. The Catalan has bigger issues right now, however, with the European date against Real Madrid drawing nearer following two meaningless Premier League games.
City’s players will not be afforded any time off before the home Champions League last 16 second leg with the La Liga champions on August 7. They hold a one-goal lead from the Bernabeu and by contrast, Zinedine Zidane is able to give his players rest this week given the Spanish season finished earlier.
City have two league games remaining but Guardiola is focused on the Champions League
‘We’ll have two days (off) after Watford but after Watford we’ll have two weeks of training sessions,’ Guardiola said.
‘We are going to try to maintain our rhythm in our sessions. We are going to find a specific way to play against Madrid.
‘They have no (Sergio) Ramos, so we’ll see how (Eder) Militao and (Raphael) Varane have joined together in their games together. It’s an advantage that we have more time to prepare specific things about them.
‘We are excited and optimistic against Madrid. If we play at a decent level we’ll have our chance, if not we’ll be out. Saturday was not good enough.’