Beating Real Madrid is not Enough for Man City’s Pep Guardiola

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Pep Guardiola understands the weight on his shoulder and his victory over Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on Friday which saw them knocked out the Spanish giants from the 2019-2020 UEFA Champions League would not distract him from the main goal.

The main goal for the Spanish tactician is not just winning matches and rounds in the European most prestigious club competition, it is winning the title itself which has eluded him since he left Barcelona in 2012 to German Bundesliga side Bayern Munich.

Though the Manchester City manager won everything while managing Bayern Munich, he could not repeat the feat he achieved with Barcelona in 2008–09 and 2010–11 seasons where he won the UEFA Champions League.

When the 49-year-old tactician could not surpass the achievement he enjoyed at Barcelona while at Bayern Munich for three years, he decided to pick up a new challenge, which saw him join Manchester City in 2016, a club that is ready to spend as much as possible in order to land their first UEFA Champions League title in their history.

Unfortunately for the Abu Dhabi United Group that invested about £210 million to take over the Premier League club in 2008, the club has not been able to achieve the aim of winning a UEFA Champions League title, over three seasons after Pep Guardiola took over the club. The best they have been able to get is domestic dominance which has seen the club win 14 domestic titles including 4 Premier League titles between 2010 until date.

More so, the arrival of Guardiola at the club saw them win the Premier League title in the 2017-2018 season with a record 100 points. In the 2018-2019 season, they didn’t only retain the Premier League title, they won all the domestic titles which is available for a season – FA Cup, League Cup, and Community Shield.

Though in the 2019-2020 season, Pep Guardiola was able to win only the EFL Cup, he was not able to keep up with Jurgen Klopp’s challenge which saw Liverpool emerged as the champions of the league. However, Guardiola has helped the club to achieve what they have never done in their history, beat Real Madrid home and away to qualify for the quarter-final stage of this season’s Champions League.

The bigger challenge for Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola

It is no longer a big deal for Manchester City to qualify for the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Champions League. In fact, this season marks the third consecutive time they have achieved such a feat in the last eight years.

Even the manager of the club, Pep Guardiola, knows that though Manchester City is moving in the right direction, they have not gotten to where they want to be as a club. He has even stated categorically that winning over Real Madrid is not enough for Manchester City.

“We are here to try and win the Champions League. It is one step, if we think that is enough we will show how small we are”, Pep Guardiola told BT Sport. “If you want to win you have to beat the big clubs.

“It is important, we beat [Real] twice. Zinedine Zidane never lost knockout games. You see the calm and personality they play with, they are good.”

What next for Pep

Pep Guardiola will lead Manchester City to face French Ligue 1 club Lyon in the quarter-final stage of the Champions League. The French club stunned Juventus by knocking them out on away goals rule after they ended the two-legged round-of-16 encounter 2-2 on aggregate.

City and Lyon will meet in a one-off quarter-final match on August 15 at Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon, Portugal. The winner of the match will scale through to the semi-final stage which would be played on August 19 in Lisbon.

Pep Guardiola is condemned to win against Lyon if he wants to break the jinx of not being able to do well enough with any other team beside Barcelona at the Champions League. A loss at this stage of the competition could mean that the Spanish tactician would not extend his contract with City. The contract will expire in June 2021.

“I just spoke with the scouting department (about Lyon) and they told me to be alert. We have eight days to prepare for it. We will enjoy it and then after we will think about Lyon”, Pep Guardiola said.

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