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Man City seeking apology for Bayern president’s oil comments

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Manchester City will demand a public apology from Uli Hoeness for his recent comments about the Premier League club’s transfer dealings, lest the Bayern Munich president and/or his employers face legal action.

[ MORE: Jose Mourinho “preparing” for next job; expects to start “in June” ]

Hoeness, who worked with Pep Guardiola during his trophy-filled stint in Germany, recently alleged that Man City owner Sheikh Mansour pays for the club’s transfers by ramping up oil prices. The allegation didn’t come without salacious detail, either.

“My friend Pep told me what happens when he signs a player costing ($110 million). He puts some videos together and goes to see the sheikh.

“There is an opulent feast put on, during which he teaches the video to him and the money is transferred. The next day, the sheikh raises the price of oil to recoup the money.”

According to the Daily Mirror, City officials were very upset over the comments. So much so that they are considering legal action if Hoeness, a convicted tax evader, is unwilling to make a public apology and/or retraction. One source had the following to say on the matter:

“It was the remark of a smug, arrogant egotist. We are also concerned that there may be a racist element to what Hoeness has claimed.”

Guardiola loving life as ‘bold’ Man City advances

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There’s no much for a manager to say after his side beats another 7-0 on the day, and 10-2 on aggregate.

So don’t judge Pep Guardiola too harshly for his words following Manchester City’s Tuesday demolition of Schalke in the UEFA Champions League.

[ RECAP: Man City 7-0 (10-2 agg.) Schalke ]

“It was a clear result,” Guardiola said. “We are happy to get to the quarter-finals. We didn’t start that well, we were a bit scared to play. But after it went 1-0, we relaxed and decided to play and be aggressive.”

Sergio Aguero scored twice for Pep’s men, with Leroy Sane, Raheem SterlingPhil FodenGabriel Jesus, and Bernardo Silva also finding the back of the net.

With Danilo on his back line and both Foden and Fabian Delph coming off the bench to get some minutes, it all went according to plan for Guardiola.

“We have a lot of injured players so we want to continue this run and get those players back fit,” he said. “Everyone has to compete with each other to play. They all want to play. Everybody tried to play, be bold and keep going.”

City can hang with anyone, and shut down Schalke despite the absence of Fernandinho, Vincent Kompany, and John Stones. Oh, and Kevin De Bruyne did not play either. And Riyad Mahrez was an unused sub.

So yeah, pretty much full strength (Shoulder shrug emoji).

Guardiola: Man City still ‘teenagers’ among UCL contenders

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While many observers have branded Manchester City as one of a handful of favorites to win this season’s UEFA Champions League, Pep Guardiola has a different view ahead of Tuesday’s round-of-16 second leg versus Schalke: his side remains largely inexperienced in the latter rounds of the competition and are therefore still “teenagers” among Europe’s elites.

[ MORE: With “batteries recharged,” Zidane “couldn’t say no” to Real return ]

If the nearly disastrous first leg wasn’t enough of a reality check for Man City’s players — they found themselves down a goal and a man with just five minutes left to play in the first leg, before scoring twice late on to snatch an unlikely 3-2 victory — Guardiola is more than happy to remind them that their red-hot form in the Premier League (10 wins from their last 11 games as they’ve leapfrogged Liverpool for the title lead) means nothing once they re-enter European competition — quotes from the Guardian:

“Of course we can arrive in the last stages and make another step forward, I cannot deny that. But to compare with those [big] teams, one silverware doesn’t change it. We are teenagers in this competition. We want to win it, we push ourselves. The best way is to feel this kind of pressure.”

“We have to dream and point as high as possible. At the same time we have to accept there are other teams thinking the same with a lot of quality and a lot of talent. The English teams right now — United and Tottenham are there — and we cannot deny how strong they are. In 90 or 180 minutes, everything can happen and we want to compete against them.

“OK, we are favorites [against Schalke], but in one game anything can happen. United showed incredible character, with 10 players out injured. PSG are 20 points in front in their league, nobody expected it. Ajax went to Madrid [and won 4-1]. Everything is open.”

Similarly, Schalke’s woeful form over the last month (just one win from five games prior to the first leg – all competitions) meant very little as they raced out to their early lead, though it has continued in a very familiar vein with three straight defeats — by a combined margin of 11-2 — since the reigning PL champions’ visit.

Guardiola rips reports linking him to Juventus

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Pep Guardiola dismissed reports that he’ll be joining Juventus next season.

The Manchester City boss has won titles in England, Germany, and Spain, and there’s plenty of pressure on Max Allegri.

[ MORE: Piatek scores again ]

And Guardiola is upset by the rumors, given that he has two years left on his contract and Juve very much has a manager right now to go with a 19-point lead in Serie A.

“Why when someone says something on Twitter do the big newspapers say that for the next four years Pep is going to Juventus? I don’t understand why the people saying I am going to Juventus don’t try to call the club or call myself or call my agent or Juventus or Massimiliano Allegri. I feel so sorry for Massimiliano.”

Juventus is home this week in the UEFA Champions League and needs to overcome a 2-0 deficit to stingy Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.

Still, it’s hilarious that Allegri’s seat is hot even as Cristiano Ronaldo and Juve face dismissal from the UCL; Juve has a 19-point table lead having played one more match than Napoli.

Guardiola says he’ll be with City for at least two more seasons.

“Except if they sack me,” he said. “Then after, I go home. But if Manchester City want me I will stay for two more years and hopefully another one. I am not going to go to Juventus in the next two years.”

Guardiola demands Man City not let ‘excuses’ derail title defense

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The 2018-19 Premier League season has entered the unofficial home stretch, and Pep Guardiola knows it.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines for Week 28 (Tuesday & Wednesday) ]

As such, Manchester City’s complex  manager is turning up the intensity, calling for a greater focus over the season’s final 11 games and demanding that his players not let “excuses about tiredness, fixtures, schedules or how many games” derail their PL title defense.

Guardiola has been in this position a few times during his managerial career — particularly when battling Real Madrid for La Liga titles while at Barcelona — so he has little to no sympathy for a squad still competing across three competitions after winning the League Cup on Sunday — quotes from the Guardian:

“I don’t want to see excuses about tiredness, fixtures, schedules or how many games. That is nothing. When you have the [dream] to fight until the end, to retain the title, the power and the energy to give you that, it is higher than any excuses you can find.

“We have to run tomorrow and beat them, and after that beat them again. In the last two months, the mentality makes the difference. People say about this player or the other one. It doesn’t matter [who plays]. We have a deep squad, we have good enough players, a second team, too.

“I want to see tomorrow the desire that we really, really want to win this title. I want to see it. I don’t care about the way we want to play or the other things. I want the ‘smell’ in the locker room. I want to ‘smell’ in the beginning of the game, during the game, with our fans, now when one competition is over, really we want to win this title. I want to see their faces tomorrow, my players. After the game, I’ll tell you if I saw something special or not.”

[ MORE: Premier League midweek streaming, TV schedule ]

Guardiola has long been lauded — rightly so, of course — for his nous as a tactical mastermind, but it’s probably fair to say he doesn’t get enough credit for his artistry as an orator, a motivator capable of rousing lectures to rally his troops. More often than not, they seem to respond in exactly the manner he would have hoped to see.

Man City trail Liverpool by a single point, but have a 10-goal advantage in the goal-differential column.