I Will Be Judged’ On Champions League Success At Man City – Guardiola
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says his reign will “absolutely” be judged on whether he leads the club to a first Champions League title, although he “doesn’t agree” with it.
City have won nine major trophies since Guardiola took charge in 2016.
But he was asked whether his spell will be defined by success in Europe’s premier cup competition.
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“It doesn’t mean I agree with it but, absolutely, I’ll be judged on that,” said the 52-year-old Spaniard.
“Before my first game in the Champions League [with City], people said I was here to win it.
“I said ‘what?’ I don’t know, but I accept it. As much as I go through, it’s not going to change.”
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Manchester City made the Champions League final under Pep Guardiola in 2021 but were beaten by Premier League rivals Chelsea
City will secure a place in this season’s quarter-finals if they win their last-16 second leg at home to RB Leipzig on Tuesday.
The closest they have come to Champions League glory was when they reached the 2021 final, where they lost 1-0 to Chelsea.
A late fightback by Real Madrid prevented City returning to the final last season, but in Guardiola’s first four seasons at Etihad Stadium they failed to progress past the quarter-finals.
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City were upset by French sides Monaco and Lyon, while suffering agonising exits against Premier League rivals Liverpool and Tottenham, with the latter coming after VAR played a big role in the outcome of a thrilling second leg at the Etihad.
Guardiola’s Man City spell will ‘not be complete’ without Champions League win
Man City v RB Leipzig preview
In November, Guardiola, who won the Champions League twice as Barcelona coach, signed a two-year contract extension to 2025 and said he wanted “to stay and continue fighting for trophies”.
“We’ve not won it but we’ve done really well in the Champions League,” said City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne.
“I know people base everything on only winning but I feel there’s been a lot of circumstances in these kind of games – the Madrid game, the Tottenham game where we deserved to go through but didn’t. These are moments in games where these things happen.
“Obviously I want to win it but I know that, as long as we don’t, I’ll come here and get the same questions and I’m fine because people judge you on that.
“We just try to win these games and be the best people and team we can be.”
Guardiola tells De Bruyne to focus on ‘simple things’
De Bruyne has registered 17 assists in 34 appearances this season, three more than the two-time Premier League player of the season managed in 45 games last term.
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But Guardiola has started the Belgium midfielder on the bench in four of City’s past nine top-flight games and has told the 31-year-old to focus on the “simple things” to get back to his best.
“It’s been a difficult season for all of us, me included, [because of] the World Cup and many things,” said Guardiola.
“I’m not going to discover Kevin. Kevin has an ability to do it. What I’d like – I spoke many times to him – is [for him] to go to the easy principles and do it well.
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“He has an incredible ability to make an assist, to score goals and see passes like no-one else, but I always have belief they will increase and will get better when [players do] the simple things…
“When the simple things are done perfectly and we are in the right moment, the actions to create incredible passes that he – only he – can find, it will be easier, it will be better.”
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