Mikel Arteta has refused to turn on Pep Guardiola after the Manchester City boss revealed he does not have much respect for Arsenal “off the pitch” following last weekend’s FA Cup semi-final. The Gunners dumped holders City out of this season’s tournament to book a Wembley showdown with London rivals Chelsea.
Guardiola was happy to praise Arsenal’s performance, during which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice to secure a somewhat surprising 2-0 win.
The City boss, however, pointed the finger at the Gunners’ board post-match, revealing he is not a fan of their actions off the field.
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“The opponents always deserve my respect and credit,” said Guardiola. “And Arsenal, I have all the respect for what they are on the pitch – not much off the pitch – but on the pitch, a lot. So congratulations to them and good luck in the final.”
Arteta earned his coaching stripes under the wing of Guardiola at City and left the Etihad to return to the Emirates last December.
READ MORE: How Pep Guardiola slammed Arsenal board
And he has opted against directing a blast back at his former mentor and long-standing friend when asked to respond to those comments.
“I’m sorry but I’m not going to comment on that,” said Arteta, ahead of this weekend’s final round of Premier League fixtures.
Guardiola’s frustration towards the Arsenal board is believed to have been born out of their decision to contact the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) as City successfully appealed their European ban.
Guardiola had said: “The first point, for all these clubs — Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester, Wolves, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool, Liverpool!, Burnley – I understand they want the five positions for the Champions League.
“I can understand. What they ask is that they didn’t want us to delay the process for the next season, so we could play in the Champions League.
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“[But] we were so clear, we said: ‘Yeah, we completely agree with you, eight clubs, we want the resolution from CAS as soon as possible to clarify this’.”
Earlier this month, Arteta gave his own response after the CAS overturned the ban City were originally handed after UEFA had deemed them to have broken Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
“There is no question about what happened,” Arteta said. “They completely deserved to be in the Champions League because what they have done on the pitch is unquestionable.
“The regulators have looked at it and have decided that they haven’t done anything wrong so you have the two aspects that are really clear and transparent.
“They are going to be in the Champions League because they deserve it for what they have done on the pitch and what they have done outside of the pitch.”
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