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'Football gives you another chance' - Guardiola agrees Man City need to win Champions League to be considered the greatest

7:20 PM WAT 07/06/2019
Pep Guardiola Manchester City
The champions were knocked out at the quarter-final stage, and the manager acknowledges his team won't be considered greats without winning it

Pep Guardiola says he accepts that Manchester City will not be considered one of the all-time great sides until they win the Champions League.

City wrapped up an unprecedented domestic Treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup last in May, adding to the record-breaking league title they won the previous year.

But they were knocked out of the Champions League in the last eight by Tottenham following a mazy two-legged tie that they eventually lost on away goals – the third time that they have failed to go beyond that stage since Guardiola took charge in 2016.

And the Spaniard believes that, despite the small margins involved, it will take for his side to pick up European football’s biggest prize before they can join the all-time greats.

“Football always gives you another opportunity. People say until we win the Champions League, we can’t be considered one of the greatest. It’s OK, we accept the challenge," he told City TV as part of a season-end wrap-up interview.

“A decade ago, no one could have considered this club could win the Premier League. Now the people start to talk about the Champions League. That’s a first step, that’s good.

“If it happens next season, it will be next season. With me or without me, with this group or with another group. Maybe one day it will happen. If it doesn’t happen – unlucky. But we’ll be trying to do it.”

City had looked set to progress against Spurs late on in the quarter-final second leg, after two goals from Raheem Sterling helped turn around a 3-1 deficit.

But a goal from Tottenham’s Fernando Llorente followed by a disallowed strike from Sterling in stoppage time saw City exit at the last eight for the second successive season.

“I’ve won many prizes by one inch,” said Guardiola. “And we lost this one [against Tottenham] by one inch.

“Right now, we are the happiest group in the world. At the same time, we are conscious that doing the same we could have lost the Premier League.

“I’ve won a Champions League semi-final with one shot on target in the second leg. And I’ve lost one with 30 shots on target – against the same team, Chelsea. You have to work to control as much as possible.”