Home / Sport / ‘Man City don’t need more motivation’ – Laporte responds to Champions League ban

‘Man City don’t need more motivation’ – Laporte responds to Champions League ban

The defender says Pep Guardiola’s squad have remained focused ahead of their last-16 clash with Real Madrid

Aymeric Laporte insists that Manchester City’s impending ban from the Champions League will not act as extra motivation for this season’s competition.

The Premier League champions were given a two-year European ban and fined €30m (£25m) by UEFA for breaching Financial Fair Play rules.

City are appealing the decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, however, as it currently stands, the ban will come into force at the start of next season.

But they have a huge last-16 clash with 13-times winners Real Madrid before that, as they try to win the European trophy for the first time. The ban has prompted questions about the futures of some of City’s players but Laporte says the squad is only focused on playing football.

“We are professionals, a big team with big personalities in the dressing room, and I think we just think about football, nothing else,” he said after City’s 2-0 victory over West Ham on Wednesday. “We are professionals and have to do our job. That’s all.”

Asked if the ban will motivate the squad for the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu next week, Laporte added: “We don’t need more motivation for anything.

“Every game is tough and we have to be focused. The Champions League is important for us and we want the best campaign we can do.”

Laporte’s start in the win over West Ham was just his second appearance since he was out for nearly five months with a knee injury.

The 25-year-old was recalled for last month’s victory over Sheffield United but was rested for the following three matches with the club being careful about his recovery.

But the French defender says his comeback was not being managed with only the two legs against Madrid in mind.

“It wasn’t too soon [to come back] – maybe it was sooner than we expected but I felt good and confident and had one or two weeks to rest,” he said. “It was not easy to come back after five months, to play on that pitch. It was very tough, but not too soon.

“My recovery was about coming back as soon as possible, not just for Real Madrid. I want to play in every game – West Ham, Leicester, Madrid, it doesn’t matter.

“I was fit and available, but the Sheffield game was tough and I was tired. I rested, that’s all.

“It’s been tough and long but I am here and happy to be back. Now I’m looking forward to fighting until the end of the season.”

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