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|Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has backed his club after their European ban. AFP/Lindsey Parnaby|
City were banned from the Champions League and Europa League for the next two seasons and fined 30 million euros (£24.9 million) on Friday after UEFA found them guilty of committing "serious breaches" of financial regulations.
The Premier League champions overstated sponsorship revenue in accounts submitted between 2012 and 2016, according to European football's governing body.
The severe punishment will cost City an estimated £170 million in lost Champions League revenue and the club reacted furiously, immediately vowing to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Amid speculation that Guardiola could quit if they lose the appeal, the City manager used his first public comments since news of the suspension broke to make it clear he will not desert the club whatever happens in court.
"If they don't sack me I will stay here 100 per cent more than ever. First because I want to stay. It's something special, more than the contract I have," Guardiola told Sky Sports after Wednesday's 2-0 win against West Ham at the Etihad Stadium.
"I said before, I say now, I want to stay and help the club and maintain this level as long as possible.
"When I said I love this club I like to be here, why should I leave? No matter what happens I will be here next season."
'IT'S NOT FINISHED'
That was the best possible news for City fans, who will hope Guardiola's faith in what he has been told by his bosses proves wise.
Guardiola said City's Abu Dhabi-based owners told him the ban was unfair and he supports their decision to appeal.
"It's not finished. The club believes it's unfair so we are going to appeal. When someone believes they are right they have to fight," he said.
"We are going to fight like we have fought every single game. We are optimistic that at the end the truth will prevail and next season we will be in the Champions League.
"All we can do on the pitch is what we have done the last four years and focus on that until the end of the season.
"I trust 100 percent completely my club what they have done. They explained to me the reasons why."
After scoring City's second goal against West Ham to cap a man of the match display, Kevin De Bruyne insisted his team-mates will stay focused despite speculation that some of them will ask to leave if the ban is not lifted.
"Obviously we were on holiday when the statement happened and I think we came back and we played football and the situation is what it is," De Bruyne said.
"We trained like normal and in the end nothing really changes for us - we just play the games that we have. Even today we gave a good performance and we still have a lot to play for.
"I think the team gave their statement, so I don't know as players what else we can do.
"We can just play football and in the end the situation will show what it can show."