Pep Guardiola says style is “more important than winning a trophy” as he reflects on the progress made in his first season at Manchester City.
The Catalan arrived in English football with a reputation for delivering success, with Barcelona and Bayern Munich benefitting from his tactical ability.
He is, however, now facing up to a first season in coaching without silverware, with City set to end the 2016-17 campaign empty-handed.
Guardiola does not consider that to be a failure on his part, though, with there plenty of encouragement to be taken from the philosophies he has been able to introduce at the Etihad Stadium.
He told ESPN Brasil: “The team has played the way I wanted. We didn't play good enough, there were teams that did better.
“In Europe, we still don't have the level to compete. City had gone 35 years without playing in Europe [Champions League]. The club crossed the round of 16 just once. So, we need time to have conditions to compete.
“But the team played, like how we did at Barcelona and Bayern, how I always want my teams to play. It is more important to me than winning a trophy.”
City are yet to wrap up a top-four finish in the Premier League this season, but know their fate is in their own hands.
Guardiola believes their run-in would have been considerably more comfortable had key men not picked up untimely knocks.
Gabriel Jesus is among those to have spent time on the sidelines after making a bright start to his career in England, with City eager to pair him with Sergio Aguero on a more regular basis.
“I'm sorry the misfortune of the injury, which hurt us a lot, because it isn't 'either Gabriel or Sergio. They can perfectly play together,' Guardiola added.
“Certainly, with both of them, we would be stronger.”
City have two more fixtures to take in this season – at home to West Brom on Tuesday and away to Watford on the final weekend.
They sit three points above fifth-placed Arsenal at present, with there little margin for error in their pursuit of a Champions League berth.