Guardiola not prepared to ‘gamble everything’ on shot at Champions League glory

Pep Guardiola insists he would not gamble away any of Manchester City’s successes for a shot at winning the Champions League.

The City boss, who won Europe’s top club prize twice as manager of Barcelona, denies that seeing Liverpool take the continental crown last season took the gloss off his own side’s domestic treble.

“No, no way,” said the Spaniard. “Why can we not share the glory?

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola go head-to-head again in the Community Shield on Sunday (Martin Rickett/PA)

“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.

“But why is it higher than what we have done over 11 months?

“The Champions League is an important tournament but I don’t want to go to the casino and gamble everything I have in my pocket for seven games. I don’t want it.

Manchester City swept all before them domestically last season
Manchester City swept all before them domestically last season (Andy Hampson/PA)

“I think I want to be happy during 11 months. It makes me happy, the Premier League, every game. When I win, the days after I am happier. I go to the restaurants better, I feel better, I work better with my players.

“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.”

Guardiola is confident Liverpool, Premier League runners-up to City last season and still without a domestic championship since 1990, would agree with him on the importance of winning the home title.

He said: “I’m pretty sure Liverpool would have liked to win the last Premier League, (after) 30 years not winning the Premier League.

“It is incredibly good what they have done in the Champions League but I think winning the Premier League is really good. They were just one point behind but we were better by one point.

“Both teams were fantastic last season. Why do you have to say this team is better than the other one? Both were good.”

Guardiola believes his players have perhaps not got due recognition for last season’s achievements.

City were the first side ever to win all three domestic trophies but when the shortlist for FIFA Best men’s player of the year was announced this week, no City players were included.

Liverpool had three names on the 10-man shortlist in Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Virgil Van Dijk. Van Dijk was also last season’s PFA Player of the Year.

Guardiola, who was nominated in the best coach category, said: “I’m not going to say the 10 guys nominated for this award don’t deserve it but, for example, our players for the Premier League trophies we had five or six nominated.

“So I was a little bit surprised, because they were incredible. We won four titles and we were not able to be, even once, there.

“Maybe because for this award it is seven games – eighth-finals, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final. When you win the Champions League, you will be there.

“In the other 10 or 11 months they don’t care for these kind of awards.”

Guardiola, speaking at a press conference ahead of the Community Shield against Liverpool, then joked about the levels City would have to reach to earn nominations.

He said: “Maybe we have to win five or six titles or get 250 points to be considered to be there next season. We are going to try!”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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