sport news JOE BERNSTEIN: Pep Guardiola knows that Manchester City MUST win the Champions ... trends now
Pep Guardiola's Manchester City have already done enough to be considered among the greatest teams this country has produced.
Guardiola usually steers away from comparisons. Asking Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland and Ruben Dias to repeat what Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta achieved at the Nou Camp seems churlish given the records City have broken, the first team to reach 100 points, the first team to win the domestic Grand Slam.
Becoming a European champion is something Guardiola achieved in his first season as a manager in 2009 but it remains virgin territory to his current club or any of the squad.
Hence, despite unprecedented success on the home front and mass acclaim following their exhilarating 4-0 Champions League semi-final victory against Real Madrid last week, Guardiola has challenged his players to match Barca’s great tiki-taka side.
Manchester City are through to the UCL final and winning will be crucial to cementing their status as an iconic team
Under Pep Guardiola, Barcelona won the Champions League title twice in 2009 and 2011
The head coach has not one a European trophy since lifting the cup at Wembley 12 years ago
‘This team is really good but I’m in agreement with the media and people saying we have to win in Europe to be considered as the same type to the greatest ones [Barcelona 2008-15].
‘Those teams, they’ve won not just once, but many times in Europe. It is amazing for us to be here again and again. The joy is so nice and nothing is going to change that.
‘But if we are considered one of the best teams, we have to win the Champions League. If not, my opinion won’t change but to be in the books, the real [record] books, you have to do that.’
Under Guardiola, Barcelona won the Champions League in 2009 and 2011, with Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol and Sergio Busquets providing the platform for artists like Messi to flourish.
Guardiola has become a master of mind management, knowing when to put an arm around the shoulder and when to deliver a broadside.
He appears remarkably relaxed as City enter the final lap of a potentially historic season. They play their final three Premier League games this week starting at home to Chelsea on Sunday,