Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed he wouldn’t want to sacrifice Premier League glory for the sake of a Champions League trophy.
His side won the Premier League last season, finishing ahead of Liverpool who instead lifted the Champions League trophy. It’s the one piece of silverware that has eluded Manchester City in the modern era, but not something the manager is set to prioritise.
The Independent claims that the former Barcelona manager made it very clear where his priorities lie for the coming Premier League season.
“We would like to win the Champions League – big respect to Liverpool, winning the Champions League is so difficult, so, so complicated. That’s why winning the Champions League gets all credit,” said Guardiola.
“But why is it higher than what we have done over 11 months? I think I want to be happy during 11 months. It makes me happy, the Premier League, every game.
“Am I going to wait until February to play seven games with everything on black colour? From my point of view, it’s too risky.”
But even if Guardiola seems content with last year’s campaign, he most certainly has an affinity with the European Cup. ‘A Guide to Premier League’s Managers’ featured on Ladbrokes details how the Spaniard first got a taste for European glory under the legendary Johan Cruyff at Barcelona. This would inspire him to step into management; first with Barcelona B and then with the first team, guiding them to two Champions League trophies. However, since his Barca days, Champions League glory has alluded him at both Bayern Munich and City.
City’s record in the prestigious Champions League has not been as impressive as their domestic dominance. They’ve qualified for the last five tournaments, going out in the last 16 on three occasions.
The last two competitions have seen them eliminated in the quarter-final, with Spurs grabbing a surprise victory last season. They scored three times at the Etihad Stadium in a thriller, which the Guardian reports saw Guardiola’s side eliminated on away goals.
Whilst he might not need to lift the trophy from a personal point of view, he admitted in an interview with the Evening Standard that his time as manager will be largely judged by his ability to deliver the most coveted of club football competitions.
This season will be the 50th in which European glory has eluded City. It was back in 1970 that they last tasted success on the continent, with the Manchester Evening News describing their win against Gornik Zabrze as the greatest European night in their history.
Whilst Pep Guardiola won’t be risking the Premier League for a repeat of their European Cup Winner’s Cup success, there is no doubt that supporters will be eager to see his side succeed not just domestically, but also on the European stage.
This Manchester City side, complete with the wonderful players they’ve had and the trophies they’ve won, will not be remembered as a truly great team in club football until they bring home the Champions League.