Guardiola names No 1 City motivation as he drops stunning ‘failure’ admission

Date published: Tuesday 14th September 2021 5:37 - James Marshment

Pep Guardiola, Champions League press

Pep Guardiola insists he is motivated to go one step further in the Champions League than he did last season – and has made a shocking revelation about his time in charge at the Etihad Stadium so far.

Despite Guardiola’s success in the Premier League, the Champions League remains an elusive target for City. Last season was the closest they came yet, as they were beaten by Chelsea in the final in May. And, as a result of that near miss, Guardiola has set his players a challenge.

Now Guardiola hopes his players is urging his men to turn that adversity into a source of motivation.

The City manager said: “I’m pretty sure (of that). The players have feelings and soul and you know it hurts when you cannot achieve.

“For them now it’s a new, new challenge to try. When these guys win three Premier Leagues in the last four years, and every year we have the feeling that we can do better. We reached the final of the Champions League – yes, it’s a motor. They want it.”

Guardiola realises, however, that last season’s achievements count for nothing now as they start the challenge all over again.

City host RB Leipzig on Wednesday in their opening match of a tough Group A, Their group also includes another of the competition favourites in Paris Saint-Germain, as well as Club Bruges.

He said: “Sport is always a new challenge. What happened in the past is the past.

“We have experience – but that doesn’t mean it is going to be well for this season. It’s the start of a new competition.

“We’re fortunate to be involved. We try to win the first game of many. All group stages are difficult, this is not an exception. ”

Having been the dominant English force of the past decade, with five Premier League titles, success in Europe for City is widely considered to be overdue.

This season will be the club’s 11th in succession in the Champions League but, last season aside, they have only reached the semi-finals on one other occasion.


Seven iconic goal celebrations, including Ronaldo, Adebayor and Sturridge


Guardiola reign ‘could be considered a failure’

Guardiola, despite guiding City to three of their Premier League crowns, admits he has learned to live with a perception that his reign could be considered a failure without Champions League success.

“Every year it is the same,” he said. “If I win the Champions League I’ll be happy for the club. But if we are not going to do it we are not going to do it.

“You have to judge the success or not of my period. I try to do my best every single day and people can judge my job like I judge my players on how incredible they have done.”

Guardiola disagrees, however, with suggestions last season’s campaign should be considered inadequate.

He said: “The people can say Manchester City was a failure. OK, that’s your opinion.

“But it was an incredible achievement we did last season – of 13 games, we won 11, drew one and lost one unfortunately, the last one.”

READ MORE: City given reality check over nine-figure pursuit of England star

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