Football News

Pep Guardiola unwilling to risk Premier League treble for Champions League glory

By Chris Smith

Pep Guardiola

Published: 12:30, 4 August 2019

Pep Guardiola has insisted Manchester City won’t “gamble” everything for success in the Champions League during the 2019/20 season.

City won an unprecedented domestic treble last season and finished a solitary point clear of Liverpool in the Premier League title race.

City’s European frustration: Five key things to know…

  • City have won nine major honours since 2011.
  • Five of them have come in the past two years, under Guardiola.
  • However, City have still never won the Champions League in their history.
  • They were knocked out last year by eventual runners-up Spurs.
  • And Guardiola himself hasn’t won the competition since 2011.

Although Jurgen Klopp’s men did seal European glory over Tottenham Hotspur, Guardiola was bemused at the thought that their triumph undermined his side’s achievements, saying he won’t gamble everything else they could win on the Champions League.

“No, no way,” said the Spaniard ahead of the Community Shield against Liverpool on Sunday. “Why can we not share the glory?

“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.”

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Guardiola added the “happiness” he gets from victory in the everyday life of the Premier League was too much to sacrifice for the possibility of an end-of-season run in the Champions League.

He continued: “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.”

Despite winning all three major domestic honours in England – as well as the 2018 Community Shield – to Liverpool’s one trophy, no Man City player was nominated for Fifa’s Best men’s player award while the Reds saw Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk all put forward.

Guardiola himself was nominated in the ‘best coach’ category but expressed his displeasure that such a monumental, season-long effort from his players wasn’t rewarded with better recognition.

“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,” he continued.

“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 kinds of awards.”