Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is backing his players to deliver on the pitch and the club’s lawyers off it.
The champions were rocked on Monday when the Premier League charged them with 115 breaches of its Financial Fair Play regulations following a four-year investigation.
Guardiola was in defiant mood on Friday as he spoke publicly for the first time since the charges were published, passionately defending the club and expressing an even greater determination to succeed in his job.
He insisted he was convinced of the club’s innocence and backed them to prove it in the face of doubters from all angles, notably rival Premier League clubs.
The furore over the matter – with City facing possible points deductions or even expulsion from the competition if found guilty – has meant that Sunday’s clash with Aston Villa has been completely overshadowed.
Guardiola, however, expects his side to come out firing at the Etihad Stadium.
He said: “Why should they be distracted? I’m confident in my players.
“The players will be focused on our game, (as) in the past and (will be) in the future.
“What happened Monday – a lot of words, a lot of noise – and the next days I have the feeling that everyone is going to do the job, ourselves on the pitch and our lawyers in the court.”
In a footballing sense, City are in need of a lift after last week’s defeat at Tottenham.
Recent form has been patchy with points dropped in three of the last six Premier League games.
The result at Spurs was particularly frustrating as it meant City missed the chance to cut into Arsenal’s lead at the top of the table after the Gunners had lost at Everton the previous day.
Guardiola said: “We lost at Tottenham. The rest was quite good – FA Cup, Premier League – but the game in Spurs was not good enough.
“Of course we know the situation. We have to make more consistency in results and we’re going to try and start on Sunday.
“I’m delighted with the team (this week). I know how they train day to day.
“In the previous seasons, in the toughest moments, we were there and I have the feeling we will continue to do it.”