Pep Guardiola believes Champions League final loss can drive Manchester City

Pep Guardiola, manager of Manchester City speaks with his players during a UEFA Champions League open training session at Manchester City Football Academy on September 14, 2021 in Manchester, England.

Pep Guardiola believes the hurt of losing May’s Champions League final will fuel Manchester City as they open this season’s campaign at home to RB Leipzig on Wednesday.

City were defeated 1-0 by Chelsea in Porto and Guardiola, who has spoken regarding how the quarter-final loss to Lyon in the 2019-20 competition was a pain that lingered, feels that disappointment could help his team.

“The players have feelings and soul and you know it hurts when you cannot achieve,” he said. “For them now it’s a new, new challenge to try. 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, so, yeah, it’s a motor [driver].

“But there are many other teams who want it too. It depends on how you arrive in that moment, with injuries, with the mood, the karma for the team – many, many different things.

“Sport is always a new challenge, the past is the past, it’s experience. It doesn’t mean we’ll do well this season. It’s the start of a new competition – we are lucky and fortunate to be involved. We try to win the first game of many. All group stages are difficult, this is no exception and we try to do well.”

Rodri admitted the pain of the final defeat took a little time to shake off. “It depends on the player,” the Spain midfielder said. “In my situation, you have three shit days the next days, you cannot even talk to your families and friends. They are there to support you but your face is not as you want.

“Then it is football, you move on and in defeat you learn more than in victories. The players [learn] very fast and we can focus on the next goals and in my case it was the Euros and the next season. Football you play every three days so there is no chance to celebrate or cry.”

In addition to his European Cup win as a player with Barcelona in 1992, Guardiola coached the club to two more titles, most recently in 2011. He professed himself as intent as ever to win a third as manager.

“Every time I start this competition, I like the drive [to do this],” he said. “We made a step forward last season – we played 13 games in the competition and won 11, we drew one and we lost the final. The people can say Manchester City was a failure; okay, that’s [their] opinion.”

RB Leipzig have only one victory from their opening four Bundesliga matches – they lost their last match 4-1 at home to champions Bayern Munich.

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