Pep Guardiola feels Manchester City still lack “something special” when it comes to Champions League football.
The City manager insists he and his players are striving to succeed on the European stage but, despite dominating at home, he cannot feel the sparkle that pushed him towards glory at Barcelona.
Guardiola, who guided Barca to two Champions League titles and also reached the semi-finals three times in charge of Bayern Munich, has suggested fans City need to show greater appetite.
He said: “In this competition you need something special, and still I don’t feel it. I saw last season we are still not ready to win it. That’s what I feel.
“That doesn’t mean we are not going to try but to win this competition it’s not enough just to have desire, or wanting to win. You have to have many circumstances, have experience and still we don’t have enough in some moments.
“That’s not enough that the manager wants to win it, it’s not just the players. You have to have the desire – the club, chairman, owner, the fans, everyone has to push to be closer, to achieve the next stages. When it happens, everyone will feel it.”
Guardiola was speaking as the Premier League winners arrived in Kharkiv for their Group F encounter against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Metalist Stadium on Tuesday.
His sentiments are familiar as, throughout his tenure at City, he has referred to the club’s lack of European pedigree when discussing their Champions League shortcomings.
The apparent lukewarm attitude of supporters towards the competition is also something he struggles to comprehend, given his past experiences.
City fans have been slow to take to the competition and this has been exacerbated by an antipathy towards organisers UEFA, which sees them routinely boo the Champions League anthem.
Guardiola said: “It’s one important thing to win this kind of title, you have to be pushed, not just by the manager, by everyone surrounding Manchester City that we have to win it. And still we don’t have that feeling – the feeling that the fans are pushing that we have to win the Champions League.”
City will officially have 825 supporters behind them in Kharkiv, Shakhtar’s adoptive home and a venue where they lost season.
That encounter in December was City’s first loss of the season in any competiton but it came after they had already secured their place in the last 16.
“They are even better now, they have some new players and are stronger, while we are a different team,” said Shakhtar coach Paulo Fonseca.
“We will need to pay attention to all the players in the City team. We know it is going to be difficult and we will probably have to suffer a bit without the ball, but we will try to find ways to play our game and attack.”
Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P