Manchester City defended by Pep Guardiola amid Football Leaks accusations
MANCHESTER, England -- Pep Guardiola has defended Manchester City in light of allegations the club breached financial fair play regulations and said they have to "accept it" if people claim they only win because of because of their spending power.
German magazine Der Spiegel released a number of stories based on so-called Football Leaks data alleging City had avoided UEFA's FFP regulations.
City released a statement following the initial allegations that were made on Friday. The statement said the club would not comment on "the attempt to damage the club's reputation," but Guardiola fielded questions about the allegations at a news conference ahead of their Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.
"You have to accept it when people say you win just because of money, what can you say? We accept it. We believe we work a lot, not just the manager, the staff, and especially players," Guardiola said.
"Always I've said we cannot achieve what we achieve, like the big clubs in Europe, is because they have to spend. Spend why? Because they need good players. Without good players we cannot do that.
"If people say it's just about that we have accept it, but my point of view is completely wrong. We work a lot in a good way and that's why I always defend us -- especially my players -- what we do."
Guardiola added that he trusted the club to follow the regulations in all competitions.
"I think about that issue the club has made a statement last Friday about what happened with the stolen emails," he said. "What I can say personally on the club, of course I trust the club what they have done. Of course we want to follow the rules, from UEFA and FIFA and the Premier League. They do what we have to do.
"Believe me, I'm completely honest, I don't know what happened, because I am a manager, I am focused about what happened on the pitch, and locker room.
"About the business and how we handle this situation, I'm completely out of that. I'm part of the club and I support completely the club. And we want to do what we have to do in terms of the rules.
"In terms of undermining what we have done or not, opinions are free in those terms. If we win we are good and accept it, if we lose we accept it's not what we are able to to win. In the end we have to focus on what we have to do on the pitch."
City could qualify for the Champions League round of 16 if they beat Shakhtar for a second time following their 3-0 victory in Ukraine.
According to the latest round of Football Leaks, Guardiola would be due a £2 million bonus should he deliver the Champions League to City.