regular-article-logo Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Only Champions League glory will make us complete, says Pep Guardiola

Guardiola demands highest of standards from his players, which is why even world class performers appear to get even better under his watch

Reuters Manchester Published 23.05.23, 05:22 AM
Pep Guardiola.

Pep Guardiola. File photo

A banner inside Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium on Sunday was adorned with a photo of their manager with the words “Pep Guardiola, he changed football” printed across it.

The Spaniard was not about to start blowing his own trumpet during the celebrations after his side lifted the Premier League title for the fifth time in six seasons.


His record of 11 league titles in 15 seasons as manager of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now City, speaks for itself.

Five of those have come at City and in the next three weeks he could take them to another level by winning the FA Cup and then the cherished Champions League to complete the treble.

While insisting that failing to conquer Europe’s summit with City by beating Inter Milan should not diminish what he has achieved at the club, he knows his City career might ultimately be judged on whether he wins the Champions League with them.

“Fifth Premier League title in six years, I could not imagine winning five in six,” Guardiola told reporters.

“I have the feeling we’ve done something exceptional but to be considered one of the greatest we have to win the Champions League, otherwise it’s not complete.

“We won a lot but can’t deny that it can be unfair to have to win the Champion League to give value to what you’ve done.”

City trailed Arsenal by eight points until a few weeks ago title race and Guardiola said that when Mikel Arteta’s side reached the halfway point with 50 points in the bag he thought it might be impossible to catch them.

But City found another gear and a run of 12 successive wins as Arsenal faltered sealed the deal.

“The first half Arsenal did 50 points and I had the feeling they’d done something special, we were there and they felt it,” said the Spaniard, who took charge in 2016.

“Our relentlessness and refusal to give up, having to win each game knowing it would be impossible if we don’t.”

The ultimate perfectionist, Guardiola demands the highest of standards from his players, which is why even world class performers appear to get even better under his watch.

Jack Grealish epitomises the effect the former Spain midfielder has.

“I can’t actually speak highly enough of the manager,” said Grealish, who has dazzled for City this season.

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