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Pep Guardiola Says Manchester City 'Deserve' Champions League Return ahead of Hearing on Ban Appeal

Pep Guardiola (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Pep Guardiola (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Manchester City will know their fate of the Champions League fate on Monday as manager Pep Guardiola said they deserve continental football.

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City deserve their place in the Champions League next season as the club wait to find out whether their two-season ban against playing in European competitions will be overturned.

City were handed the two-season saction by UEFA in February over alleged breaches of financial fair play rules, but appealed that decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which will deliver its verdict on Monday.

On the field, City ensured they will finish in the Premier League's top four with Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over Brighton on Saturday.

"Today we achieved one incredible challenge, which is qualification for the Champions League mathematically," said Guardiola.

"We deserve to be there because we won it on the pitch. Hopefully on Monday UEFA can allow us to play like this team and these players deserve to."

For the fourth time in their last six league games, City scored four or more goals in another performance that belied the 21-point gap between them and champions Liverpool.

However, they could still end the season with a treble of trophies as they face Arsenal in the semi-finals of the FA Cup next weekend before recommencing their Champions League campaign in August.

"I have the feeling all the team is ready to play good for what we have ahead of us," added Guardiola.

"The levels we've had since the restart, even the games we lost, have been really good."

Manchester City's Abu-Dhabi project and the future of UEFA's financial fair play (FFP) rules face a pivotal day on Monday when the Court of Arbitration for Sport delivers its verdict on City's appeal against a two-season ban from European competitions.

The stakes could not be higher for the English side, who have always strongly denied any wrongdoing over allegations they deliberately inflated the value of income from sponsors with links to the Abu Dhabi United Group, also owned by City owner Sheikh Mansour, to avoid falling foul of FFP regulations between 2012 and 2016.

In February, UEFA imposed a fine of 30 million euros ($32 million, £25 million) on City as well as suspending them from European competitions for the next two seasons.

Since Sheikh Mansour's takeover 12 years ago, City's fortunes have been transformed from perennially living in the shadow of local rivals Manchester United to winning four Premier League titles in the past eight years among 11 major trophies.

Yet the prize that has eluded them is the one the Abu Dhabi project most desires - the Champions League.

(With inputs from AFP)