Pep Guardiola could lead Manchester City to an unprecedented hat-trick on Saturday but admitted his team needed to win the Champions League to be considered one of the greats.
The victory over Watford in the FA Cup final would complete the consecutive titles of the League Cup and the Premier League, but it is annoying that Guardiola did not surpass the quarter-finals of the Champions League in three seasons under his direction.
“We had two fantastic seasons, but to be considered the best, I think you have to win the Champions League,” he said. “I recognize that our standard in this competition was not as good as the rest of our work. This is an issue we must tackle because we always dream of winning it.”
An away defeat by Tottenham put an end to City’s hopes in Europe this season and their chance to win the four major competitions. Guardiola thinks it would have been impossible to eliminate all the problems if the Spurs had been beaten because the tension would have been felt by City in the Premier League. The Champions League final is arriving soon and fans who want to witness that match have bought their tickets for the Champions League final.
“We only won the league very little, we were pushed very hard by Liverpool and if we beat Tottenham, I’m not sure we would have been able to cope with the pressure and extra matches,” he said “I do not think we could have stayed focused on our goal because the Champions League is really hard, you play with emotions more than in other competitions and it’s so tight.” A goal, a decision, a mistake could cost you dearly.
People tout City as the best team in the Premier League, but Guardiola takes a more historical perspective. “Liverpool and Manchester United are the two biggest clubs in the Premier League – history says it well,” he said. “You cannot fight history, but we take steps. We did a great job this season because Liverpool was amazing. We already know who will be our rivals next season and what level we will have to reach.”