Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has piled the pressure on Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, after the manager said he would not be a failure if he is unable to deliver a Champions League title for the Etihad outfit.
Guardiola insisted this week that the Premier League and cup honours he has secured for City, alongside the friendships he has formed during his time in England, would more than make up for missing out on Europe's most coveted club crown.
Ferdinand, however, who captained City's fiercest rivals to that honour in 2008, is not buying the Catalan's comments, claiming that the main reason the club's ambitious owners brought in the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach was to lift the European trophy.
“With the competitive spirit Guardiola has, the perfectionist he seems to be and the obsessive nature he has, he would not be happy if he walked away from City without winning the Champions League,” Ferdinand told The Sun.
“He was probably more successful at Bayern Munich than he has been at City but the fact he didn’t win the Champions League in Germany will always taint his time there. That is due to the level he has operated at in the past and the standards he set himself at Barcelona.
“I think it would be the same if this was to happen again at City. He has been brought in by their owners specifically to win the Champions League, whether he likes it or not.
“They were winning the Premier League before he arrived, so he hasn’t so far achieved anything at City that nobody else has.
“He can say what he wants about not being judged on the Champions League because he has to protect himself, but he has been brought in to win this tournament. I’m not saying he would be unsuccessful if he doesn’t manage to win it, but he would not have done what was on the tin.”
Ferdinand went on to describe City as being “their own worst enemy” in Europe, with Guardiola's high-octane approach to games often costing them dearly when, in the former defender's eyes, they should be more focused on protecting leads than playing beautiful football.
“You have to play differently in the Champions League to the way you do in the Premier League,” he added. "It’s very different. You’re playing against different players and better players more often than not, because it’s the elite tournament. So you have to adapt your game.
“For many years at United we were going into Champions League games gung-ho and still playing attacking, free-flowing football as if we were in the Premier League, but if you look at the years we were successful in Europe, in the big games we were stiff and hard to play against.
“It’s about being adaptable and respecting the tournament. City sometimes have been their own worst enemy in Europe.
“There have been times when they’ve had games by scruff of the neck and they’ve stuck to their guns and played to their principles — instead of saying ‘Right, let’s shut the tie down and keep what we’ve got’ — and they’ve been punished.
“With the ties just one game this time, game management is even more important this time.”