Pep Guardiola has his own measure for judging his Manchester City team, but admits from the outside his reign at the Etihad will be seen as a failure if he doesn’t win the Champions League.
The Blues face Tottenham in the quarter-finals in April as Guardiola looks to reach the last four for the first time as City boss. Victory over their domestic rivals would set up a semi-final showdown with either Ajax or Juventus.
After City’s 10-2 aggregate win over Schalke was completed in midweek BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand claimed the Guardiola era would be “frowned upon” if the Catalan didn’t win the biggest prize in Europe.
That is not an assessment that Guardiola agrees with, but he does accept that he will ultimately be judged on how he does in the Champions League, just as he was at Bayern Munich.
In Germany he guided the Bavarians to three successive Bundesliga title and two DFB Pokal’s, but he couldn’t conquer Europe.
“I was judged in Munich in that way so I will be judged here as well,” Guardiola said of winning the Champions League.
“My period in Munich was not good for most people because we didn’t get one final. We got semi-finals but we didn’t get a final and we were judged. So I’m a lucky guy. My standards are high. I have to reach it.”
The Champions League remains an incredibly difficult competition to win, with Barcelona only claiming one title since Guardiola left the Nou Camp. The knockout stages are full of dangerous ties, which is why Guardiola isn’t judging his time at the Etihad purely on success in Europe.
He’s already guided City to a record-breaking Premier League campaign last term while the Blues remain in the hunt for a quadruple this season.
“What’s important is that the players, the club, the fans and the people give credit if we are consistent and humble and in every single game doing what we have to do,” said Guardiola.
“But I have to accept it. We won a lot in the past and that’s why people believe that is normal but that is not normal.
“When you qualify for the Champions League for the next season, it is an incredible success. There are six teams in the Premier League and we cannot say they are bad because all of them are in quarter-finals. Two of them next season will not be in the Champions League. So going to the Champions League is an incredible success.
“Going through the group stage, incredible success. Quarter-finals, incredible success. That is my point of view. My standards are not thinking: ‘We are Manchester City, we have to win everything. We have to win the final and if not it will be a disaster.’ It will be a disaster when you don’t do what you have to do: put absolutely everything to try it.”
City face Swansea in the FA Cup quarter-final this weekend. They’ve already won the Carabao Cup this season and have a one-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
“When you are in the position that we are right now, I’ve not many complaints,” added Guardiola.
“I’m pretty sure our fans know it. When I spoke with my chairman, CEO, sporting director, the people here working know and they give credit for what we have done in the last two seasons. At the end, that is the most important thing.
“After that, everyone can judge if it’s a disaster. If we do not win the Champions League, our work for three seasons, every three days, is a failure or a disaster. I completely do not agree but what can I say? Accept it and move on.”