Pep Guardiola not feeling under pressure to win Champions League

Pep Guardiola claims he does not feel under pressure to win the Champions League at Manchester City.

Europe’s top club prize is now the last remaining target for the former Barcelona boss at the Etihad Stadium after winning five of the last six domestic trophies on offer.

Yet while Guardiola does have a strong desire to reclaim the trophy he won twice with the Spanish giants, he insists it is not the be-all and end-all.

Pep Guardiola points the way forward in Manchester City training
Pep Guardiola points the way forward in Manchester City training (Barrington Coombs/PA)

“I want to win this tournament but if I don’t, it will not change my life. I am not going to kill myself,” said Guardiola ahead of his side’s second group match of this season’s competition against Dinamo Zagreb.

“In my first press conference in my first year in Manchester it was the same question – ‘you are here to win the Champions League’.

“I said ‘OK’ but I spoke a few times with Khaldoon (Al Mubarak), our chairman, and Ferran (Soriano, chief executive). They didn’t tell me that.

“They told me I came here to continue a project, to try to play good football and start to win one game, then another, and another one. Then we will see how far we get.

“Of course we are going to try but, I’m sorry, I’m not going to live the next 10 months, or next season, thinking if I don’t win the Champions League it will be a disaster in my life, because my life is quite good, every single day.”

Asked if winning the Champions League would be the next step, Guardiola said: “Yes, definitely, but sometimes it cannot be possible.”

Kevin De Bruyne is a doubt for the visit of the Croatian champions in Group C after missing a training session on Monday.

No reason was given for the Belgian’s absence but there had been speculation he may have suffered an injury after being substituted in the 80th minute of Saturday’s game at Everton.

Kevin De Bruyne, left, missed training on Monday
Kevin De Bruyne, left, missed training on Monday (Peter Byrne/PA)

Dinamo have won just one of their 11 contests against English opposition but, after winning a 13th domestic title in 14 years last season, they began the Champions League well with a 4-0 thrashing of Atalanta.

The odds are against them surprising City in similar fashion but coach Nenad Bjelica is targeting an upset.

He said: “We have to play with a big heart but we can achieve a big result against an opponent like this. We want to give everything to get a successful result.

“I know it is very difficult and very few clubs manage to do that at Manchester City but we will have our chances. Many things have to click to get the result but we will try our best.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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