City chiefs have been frustrated with some of Arsenal’s conduct this season, first in their approach for Mikel Arteta in December and also with their suspected role in a letter from Premier League rivals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport during their appeal over the two-year European ban handed down by UEFA.
Arsenal beat City in their FA Cup semifinal on Saturday and although Guardiola says he likes Arteta’s team, he pulled no punches in his assessment of other areas of his former assistant’s club.
“After we were beaten we shake hands,” Guardiola told a news conference on Monday.
“The opponents always deserve my respect and credit. 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. Congratulations to them and good luck in the final.”
City will look to bounce back from their defeat to Arsenal when they visit Watford on Tuesday in their penultimate Premier League game of the season.
They finish their season with a home game against already relegated Norwich on Sunday before a Champions League date with Real Madrid on Aug. 7 and despite having nothing to play for in the league, Guardiola doesn’t want his players to let up.
“Watford and Norwich can beat us but I want us to be who we are,” said Guardiola.
“Our game, who we are, with and without the ball, we are good when we go full gas, no fear, it doesn’t matter what happens and we play. That’s what we have to take from these two games.
“I said after Arsenal, we didn’t play first half against Arsenal like the second. That was the only regret. We wanted to play 90 minutes like the second half.”