Catherine Ivill/Getty ImagesManchester City manager Pep Guardiola has dismissed suggestions that the club’s campaign will be a failure should they fail to win their maiden UEFA Champions League. The Citizens have all but lost the Premier League crown with leaders Liverpool 22 points ahead after 25 games. They’ll face Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16, while they’re also up against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup final and have advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup.Guardiola told Football Daily it’s a “bad, bad message for the new generation” to believe that trophies mean everything and a season without silverware equates to failure:Football Daily @footballdailyPep Guardiola on winning trophies & not winning the Champions League
🗣”We give a bad message to the new generation to just count the trophies. People believe you are Pep you have to win all the titles every season, It’s impossible” https://t.co/yk1FiJtTH0The Catalan coach said the fact City haven’t won a European title in their 125-year history was a testament to how difficult the task is, admitting he’ll accept his fate should the owners decide to sack him:”I accept it. I want to win the Champions League; I dream and will enjoy the games against Real Madrid, to see what I can do.”And this process, the two weeks before, will be the happiest moments of my profession, to imagine what we can do to beat them.”If we don’t beat them, then the chairman will come, or the sporting director, and say ‘It’s not good enough, we want the Champions League, I’m going to sack you.’ Then ‘OK. Thank you. It was a pleasure.'”Guardiola has a contract at the Etihad Stadium until the summer of 2021, but his future at the club has been discussed more since the Reds have galloped into a dominant Premier League lead.The 49-year-old won Europe’s premier tournament twice with Barcelona (2009, 2011) before leading Bayern Munich to three successive Bundesliga titles between 2013 and 2016.City’s Premier League triumph last season saw the club successfully defend the crown for the first time in their history, but he said in late January this season’s Liverpool would win in any country, via Hayters TV:Hayters TV @HaytersTV“Liverpool will obviously be champions” 👏
“They would be champions in Spain, Italy and Germany” 🏆
“Liverpool are just fantastic, phenomenal” 🔥
Pep Guardiola heaps praise on @LFC and believes few teams in Europe would have been able to match the Reds this season 👌 https://t.co/KBo3fEAQHVGuardiola praised Jurgen Klopp’s project with the Reds but said it’s not always possible to hit the heights expected:”Liverpool have spent four or five years to win the first title last season. It was a process—new players, the process, then invest more and more, and they are the best team in the world right now.”Always people believe that you are Pep, or you are Jurgen, or another name, so you have to win all the titles, get two thousand million points, two thousand million goals.”Sometimes it’s not possible. Sometimes there are opponents, sometimes you cannot do it because in no sport does one team win all the titles all the time. It’s impossible.”The Sky Blues will face Villa at Wembley Stadium on March 1 with a prime opportunity to clinch an early trophy, though they travel to Madrid for the first leg of their knockout clash with Real on February 26.Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson critiqued Guardiola for failing to evolve in the same manner he feels Liverpool counterpart Klopp has in recent years:Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL🗣 – “How is he the best manager in the world? They’re 2⃣2⃣ points behind!”
Merse doesn’t hold back in a passionate rant about Pep Guardiola! 👀 https://t.co/kqAPMptdJGA serious knee injury to centre-back Aymeric Laporte has robbed City of an essential cog for most of this season so far. However, City’s spending of around £500 million in the three years since Guardiola was appointed has left some of the belief the club should be able to withstand such setbacks.Manuel Pellegrini took City to the Champions League semi-finals in 2015-16, but his successor has suffered back-to-back quarter-final departures against English peers Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.Guardiola could still end this season with two trophies even if City fail to realise their Champions League dreams, but his idea of success doesn’t hinge on that one competition.