Pep Guardiola says Manchester City are not Champions League failures despite last season’s final defeat
Pep Guardiola says Manchester City are not Champions League failures and described last season’s performance as an “incredible achievement”.
City have not won European football’s premier club competition and were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea in the 2020/21 final.
Guardiola’s side get their new campaign underway on Wednesday when they welcome RB Leipzig to the Etihad, and the City manager insists it is wrong to look back on the previous season as a failure.
“People can say Man City was a failure but it was an incredible achievement last season, playing really well in many of the games and losing well against a big contender,” Guardiola said.
“Every time I start this competition with drive. I’m incredibly happy here. Man City made a step forward last season, we improved a lot. We had 13 games and we won 11.
“We played incredibly well in Porto [in the group stage] when we drew and deserved to win. We lost the final.
“Now we start a new one and every team wants to win. We’re going to try but I won’t tell you which team is going to win because I don’t know it.”
Former Barcelona boss Guardiola, who has won the Champions League twice but not since 2011, says he has learned to live with a perception that he needs to win the competition with City to be judged a success in Manchester.
“I accept it. Every year is the same,” he added.
“If I win the Champions League I will be happy for the club. If I’m not able to do it, I’m not able.
“After, you can judge the success of my period.”
Rodri: We have no regrets
Rodri insists City have no regrets over last season’s final defeat and is determined to go one better this term.
“We had a great season,” the Spain midfielder said. “We were proud of what we achieved. It was the first time in our history we reached the final.
“We have no regrets. We will learn from this experience.
“The Champions League is decided by little differences. We have to build another building – a huge building – this season to achieve the Champions League.”
The expectation on City to win the Champions League has grown each year but Rodri does not feel extra pressure to deliver.
He added: “We don’t have to. It’s a dream for all of us but it’s not compulsory.
“The Champions League is such an unbelievable tournament where only one wins.”
Pep on leaving City in 2023: I didn’t say that
Guardiola has again denied saying he plans on leaving City when his current contract expires in 2023.
Speaking at an XP Investimentos event last month, Guardiola suggested he would need a rest after seven years in charge and revealed his next ambition is to manage a national team.
The 50-year-old Spaniard, who has won three Premier League titles since joining City in 2016, was quoted as saying in August: “After seven years on this team, I think I’m going to have a stop. I’m going to have to take a break, see what we’ve done.
“And in the process, I would like to coach a South American (team), European, playing a Copa America, I want to have that experience.”
However, when asked about those quotes and his potential plan to leave the club at the end of next season, Guardiola replied on Tuesday: “Did I say I’m going to leave next season? I didn’t say that.”
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