Pep Guardiola feels Manchester City are under-appreciated as they attempt an unprecedented domestic treble.
The City manager claimed winners are never liked as he aims to lift the FA Cup for the first time when they take on Watford at Wembley.
‘People don’t like winners,’ Guardiola said. ‘Here, in Spain, in Italy, everywhere. We feel our people are happy with what we have done. I feel our fans in the street, the letters I receive from the people. They are incredibly satisfied.’
Guardiola suggested City are fighting against the weight of history in how Liverpool and Manchester United are viewed in comparison to his team.
‘Liverpool have gone 29 years without winning the Premier League — it’s normal people are waiting for them finally to win,’ he added. ‘If Liverpool had won the Premier League it would have been an “incredible” achievement. When City win it is, “oh, it’s OK. It’s an achievement”.
‘I think we did an incredible two seasons, but to be the best you have to do it a bit longer. I’m not going to say it’s the best when you have Sir Alex Ferguson’s period at United or Liverpool and Bob Paisley in the 1980s.
‘An example of how important Liverpool and United are is the website for the Daily Mail. The first story (last Monday) is the Paul Pogba discussion with fans at Old Trafford, not that we won the Premier League. It is not because I am not satisfied with the Daily Mail. I know we are not being compared like that (to their rivals) which is why we are incredibly satisfied over the last decade.’
Guardiola came out fighting at the end of a week when City went on the attack over UEFA’s handling of the investigation into alleged Financial Fair Play breaches. The Premier League holders face a season-long Champions League ban if found guilty.
The 48-year-old maintained the club’s innocence after discussions with chief executive Ferran Soriano and chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak and also said he will stay at the Etihad Stadium for at least another two years.
‘I know exactly what they did and I trust them a lot, so that’s all,’ said Guardiola. ‘I know the people are waiting for us to be guilty right now. We are innocent until proven guilty.
‘Man City are willing to expose all the papers, documents, all they have done. I’m staying here two more seasons, if they want me. I’m not going anywhere.’
City faced a backlash over video footage, filmed on the team’s plane on the way back from Brighton on Sunday, that showed staff singing a derogatory song about Liverpool.
City have strenuously denied that the alternative version of Allez, Allez, Allez refers to Sean Cox, the Liverpool fan attacked by Roma ultras, or the Hillsborough disaster.
Guardiola said: ‘If someone was offended for another issue I’m sorry. I apologise, but that was never our intention. It was not about what happened in Hillsborough or the guy (Cox). Do you think someone can just for one second imagine we could offend about what these tragedies are about?’
The City boss also promised significant changes to his squad this summer. ‘Competition for places is one reason,’ he said. ‘Every player has to feel, ‘I have to play well or I don’t play’.