Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola issued a public apology to former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard on Tuesday over comments made in the wake of the Premier League hitting City with over 100 breaches of financial rules.
The English champions could face points deductions or even relegation from the English top flight if they are found guilty of the alleged breaches, between 2009/10 and 2017/18, by an independent commission.
Gerrard’s slip in a defeat to Chelsea in 2014 opened the door for City to win the Premier League title, two years before Guardiola arrived in Manchester.
In his first press conference after the charges were revealed, Guardiola said: “I don’t know if we are responsible for Steven Gerrard slipping.”
However, the City boss said he had since been in touch with the former Aston Villa manager to offer his apologies.
Gerrard is considered one of the best players in Liverpool’s history despite his failure to win a Premier League title.
“I apologise to Steven Gerrard for my unnecessary and stupid comments, that I said last time about him,” said Guardiola.
“He knows how I admire him for what he has done in the country where I live. I defended my club but I didn’t represent my club well with my stupid comments. I am ashamed.
“I have apologised to him privately but, like the comment was public, my apology must be public as well.”
City may have the threat of being stripped of league titles hanging over them, but Guardiola’s men are back in the race to win a fifth Premier League crown in seven years on the pitch.
They travel to league leaders Arsenal on Wednesday, knowing victory will lift them to the top of the table on goal difference.
“Of course, an important one, everyone knows it, we know it and we have to try to perform well,” added Guardiola on the top-of-the-table clash.
“It will be a big, big battle in every department. You have to be ready.”
Erling Haaland is an injury doubt after coming off at half-time of Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Aston Villa with a knock to his thigh.
“We train this afternoon and we will see,” said Guardiola when asked for an update on the Premier League’s top scorer. “Right now I don’t know.”