Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he wasn't being sarcastic about influence of the club's deep pockets.
After the club notched their 19th consecutive win with a 2-0 victory away to Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League, the City boss quipped, "We have a lot of money to buy a lot of incredible players".
It's been a regular criticism levelled at the club, that they've 'bought their success'.
Some have wondered if Guardiola was just joking when he made the remark in Budapest. However, he insists he was being fully honest.
Asked to expand on his comments, Guardiola told his pre-West Ham press conference, "There are many more things – first of all an incredibly strong organisation, good, incredible lovely people, the backroom staff, the staff and players especially but when you achieve what this club has achieved in four years, winning a lot of games, you need to have the top players."
But the Catalan added, "You can win one title with average players, but to win a lot of titles you need top, top, top players. And top players cost a lot of money, that was my reflection.
"It wasn’t sarcastic, it was the truth.
"So when Bayern Munich or Barcelona, or Real Madrid or United or Juventus or Milan, or Glasgow Celtic or Rangers – who win more titles in Scotland – is because they have more money than other clubs.
“It’s the way we are doing it, every manager has his own way.”
Guardiola added, "We have this story behind us, it will always be with us.
"Many, many journalists say the only reason we win is because of the money, so it’s true. We can accept it.
“They did it at other clubs, with a budget higher than us, I know it. We have to live with this.
“But we have an incredibly strong organisation supporting us, the work ethic we have at this club – in all departments – is incredible.
“It’s not just me, it’s all departments in the club. It is a machine.
“To do what we have done in the last four seasons, we have won a lot of games in all competitions, arrived in many finals, won a lot of titles, you have to have good players.
"It’s impossible to do it, and sustain it for a long time, with just average players.
“And top players cost money, for the top clubs in Europe. But many people around the world say it’s the reason, OK we accept it.”
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