Pep Guardiola

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Report: Man City could use Gabriel Jesus to get Rodri

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At the root of this report is a question to which we don’t know the answer: How highly does Pep Guardiola rate Gabriel Jesus?

A report from Spanish outlet AS says Guardiola could use his young striker to lure Atletico Madrid into a swap deal, landing Manchester City their stirring defensive midfielder Rodri.

[ MORE: Players to watch at U-20 World Cup ]

Rodri is a nearly year older than 22-year-old Jesus, and is more instrumental to his current club. One of Atletico Madrid’s top talents, his $78 million release clause is an obvious route for City.

If Guardiola doesn’t see Jesus as a huge part of the club’s future, however, the manager may be able to go nearly like-for-like money-wise.

Jesus scored nearly every other game for City in all competitions, nabbing 21 goals in 47 matches, and has 13 goals in 27 caps for Brazil. Those are good numbers, especially with still-electric Sergio Aguero turning 31 this summer.

At his relatively tender age, Jesus has appeared 100 times for Man City and his 45 goals are made more impressive by less than 5600 total minutes in those matches.

Giving up on him to complete his midfield is a tough one. We think it’s more likely Guardiola pays the release clause… unless the manager simply doesn’t rate the player.

Pep: Domestic treble harder than winning Champions League

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Manchester City won its third tournament of the season on Saturday, battering Watford 6-0 at Wembley Stadium to add an FA Cup to its League Cup and Premier League titles.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Watford ]

In doing so, City is the first club to win a domestic treble. Manager Pep Guardiola wants to win every competition he enters, but said winning all three is extra special.

“I love the Champions League but it is more difficult to do what we have done than to win the Champions League,” Guardiola said.

Wait, what?

From ManCity.com:

“It’s not easy being there every three days. We lacked a little bit of energy but it’s normal. It’s been so tough this week. We could not have had more energy but we kept it at the right time.”

Well, that makes sense. Whereas Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp risked less with his cup lineups, knowing his desire for the Premier League and Champions League, Guardiola’s lineups were aimed at winning everything.

And that’s largely why they’ve done it. City might’ve needed penalty kicks to beat Chelsea in the League Cup Final and a John Stones clearance to win the Premier League (or a Vincent Kompany thunderbolt), but the treble is impressive.

Justification in the air amid Man City’s historic treble

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LONDON — Until their name is cleared by UEFA, questions will remain about Manchester City’s incredible domestic treble. Justification was in the air at Wembley on Saturday.

[ MORE: Man City win FA Cup

Moments after hammering Watford to win the FA Cup to complete something no other men’s team in English history had achieved, Pep Guardiola was asked questions, rightly so, about City’s achievements on the pitch being diminished by ongoing investigations off the pitch.

It is something you just can’t ignore.

At the final whistle at Wembley, a Man City fan somehow burst into the press seating area and as he was being escorted away by security he accused the media of ignoring Man City winning the domestic treble, saying that “Mo Salah will be on the back pages” tomorrow. That exchanged summed up the feeling of a large portion of Man City fans right now. Just check their responses on social media.

City are a club in full justification mood as they celebrate the most glorious season in their history.

With UEFA opening up another investigation into allegations of City deliberately circumventing financial fair flay (FFP) rules, a decision on what punishment they will receive is imminent after UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) has referred City to the CFCB adjudicatory chamber.

A minimum one-year ban from the Champions League has been reportedly recommended, and Guardiola is ready for any punishment coming their way.

“We are not guilty until proven,” Guardiola said. “When I say this squad make the first step forward with Sheikh Mansour, definitely. You can’t do that without top players. No way. Money helps to buy the incredible players we have. After that, we wait. If we are punished we will accept it. But I listen to my chairman and listen to my CEO and they give me the arguments why they are under investigation, and I trust them. When they tell me that we absolutely followed the rules, I believe them. If the opponent and contenders believe just money does that, it is okay.”

Guardiola was then asked about allegations that Roberto Mancini received separate payments from Abu Dhabi while he was in charge of Man City, and if he himself had ever been involved in similar payments, something he hadn’t answered previously when asked.

City’s boss wasn’t a fan of being asked that question minutes after completing the League Cup, Premier League and FA Cup treble.

“Do you know the question you are asking to me? Do you know the question you are asking me? If I received money from another situation right now, today. Honestly,” Guardiola fumed. “Do you think I deserve to have this type of question, what happened with Roberto I don’t know, the day I win the treble about if I received money in other situations…”

These questions will go on and City will continue to see their amazing victories, performances and trophies won on the pitch undermined until they are proven once and for all not guilty of the allegations brought about by the investigations brought up again after more details were released via Football Leaks.

Their fans feel like the achievements of their team aren’t lauded enough by the media, and the strong statements of the club against UEFA have put up a fence between themselves and the rest of the soccer world.

Guardiola’s achievement of winning the treble this season should not go without huge praise. Finances aside, he has created a remarkable team which is capable of ripping up the record books once again next season.

The Spanish coach admitted that this season wasn’t his best as a manager (that title will surely go to the 2008-09 campaign when he won the treble, including the Champions League, at Barcelona), but did take a shot at Liverpool and Tottenham reaching the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1, as City were denied a chance to win an even more historic quadruple.

“I wouldn’t say the best, but one of the best, sure,” Guardiola said. “In 10 months, to play in all competitions, and the fact that none of the other incredible teams have done this in this country, to be the first means that if one team is able to do that, another team is going to be able to repeat. We were the first and it means to be consistent every three days. I love the Champions League, but to do this is more difficult than winning the Champions League. We did it.”

Pep is following City’s fans and officials in feeling the need to add extra justification to their historic season.

Guardiola confirms Man City players want to leave

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has admitted that several of his Manchester City stars could move on this summer.

After winning back-to-back Premier League titles in stunning fashion, there have been some incredible seasons from individuals in City’s squad but there are a few who have been out of the limelight.

Pep Guardiola admitted that he expects quite a few of his first team squad to move on this summer as they are unhappy with their playing time.

“Some movements we have to do for the next season because people want to leave. Players want to play,” Guardiola said. “They accept not playing for a period, but when the period is long it’s normal that they want to play more. I can’t assure that to anyone, so I understand completely.”

Some of the players said to be unhappy include Leroy Sane, Nicolas Otamendi, Fabian Delph, Danilo, Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan. It is tough for Guardiola to juggle his huge squad and keep everyone happy, but having such a hungry group of players has worked well as they’ve won four of the last five trophies available in the English domestic game.

In the case of Sane, Guardiola revealed that Man City have been trying to get him to sign a new contract for the last 18 months.

“Leroy we are one and a half years trying to sign his contract,” said Guardiola. “We want him. If you want to extend his contract, it’s because you want him. You’re not going to extend his contract because you don’t want him. It’s like Gundogan, for example – it’s the same case.”

Even after yet another amazing season where they racked up 98 points to win the Premier League and are on the verge of completing a historic domestic treble, there is a sense there will be a bigger change in this City squad compared to this time 12 months ago.

City made one major signing last summer with Riyad Mahrez coming in, but with Liverpool closing the gap on Guardiola’s boys in the PL and another season of disappointment in the Champions League, City know they have to freshen things up.

Guardiola apologizes if Liverpool fans took offense to chant

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Pep Guardiola is defending his players after a video surfaced showing Manchester City stars singing a song interpreted by some as taking shots at tragic moments in Liverpool history.

[ MORE: Man City to lure Rodri? ]

Guardiola apologizes for any offense that Liverpool supporters have felt, but says that the club wouldn’t have dreamt of making a connection between opponents being “battered in the streets” and last year’s attack on Liverpool fan Sean Cox by Roma supporters or the Hillsborough disaster.

Obviously, those incidents would sit in the forefront of the runners-up’ minds when seeing the video.

“It was not what people say, if you could imagine what this tragedy about, all the Liverpool people,” he said. “We were happy for ourselves not because of the others. If someone was offended I’m sorry, I apologize. We celebrated for ourselves. To win the Premier League is difficult against an incredible contender.”

On the field side, City is preparing for a possible domestic treble. Guardiola’s men need to beat Watford at Noon on Saturday in the FA Cup Final. What will it mean if they do it? Our own Joe Prince-Wright weighs in here.