Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players to forget about their treble win last season and concentrate on winning the Champions League again.
The Cityzens won lifted the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup last season – becoming the first team to do so since Manchester United in 1999.
Real Madrid are the only club in history to win back-to-back UCL titles and Guardiola wants to see Man City buck that trend this season.
“I’d like to say that for our club to win the Champions League is incredible,” Guardiola said.
“But in perspective, how many teams have won the Champions League once? In perspective, we did nothing special. Just one. We didn’t have it and we’re proud.
“I was incredibly proud at Barcelona to win two in four years but we didn’t win it in a row. Let’s try to be being ourselves. If we aren’t able to win it then let’s qualify for next year and try again.
“It’s the most difficult to win the first one. It’s something incredible for us, but it’s just once. Let’s go. Let’s try to win tomorrow.”
Guardiola hails his player’s ‘incredible mentality’
Man City kick off their Champions League defence with a match against Serbian club Crvena Zvezda at the Etihad, which they will be huge favourites to win.
The other teams in their group are RB Leipzig and Young Boys, so on paper, they should have no problems in qualifying for the knockout rounds.
Man City chief executive Ferran Soriano revealed recently that he now feels ‘relaxed’ after finally conquering Europe and Guardiola added: “If the board is relaxed, that’s good. They don’t play!”
Man City’s players voted in a new ‘leadership group’ after their 3-1 victory over West Ham on Saturday, with Bernardo Silva taking Ilkay Gundogan’s place in last year’s selection.
Kyle Walker has been wearing the armband in Kevin De Bruyne’s absence, with Ruben Dias and Rodri make up the rest of the five.
Guardiola also admitted he was surprised when his players were apoplectic in the London Stadium dressing room when a goal down against West Ham at half-time.
“The players were angry. I said, ‘why are you angry?’ We’re losing but you performed really well,” Guardiola said.
“If we were more clinical up front it would’ve been 3-1. We push them but it comes from them. We have an incredible mentality in the players. I’m a little bit surprised that after all the years, the Treble, this shows the team is really good.
“Managers can do inspirational speeches but it doesn’t work. Every player has to go on their own.”