Guardiola era 'will be judged' on European success


Pep Guardiola of Manchester City celebrates victory during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park on March 11, 2023 in London, England.

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.

“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.”

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.

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.

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.”

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