Guardiola says Man City’s Champions League exit ‘not a failure’ – RT Sport News

The Spaniard backed his big-money stars after their Champions League heartbreak

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has said his side’s heartbreaking Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid does not mean his team should be considered a failure.

The Spaniard’s proteges were close to progressing to what would have been their second consecutive Champions League final before two late goals from Brazilian star Madrid Rodrygo sent the game into extra time.

Karim Benzema ended the thrilling final with a penalty to send Madrid through to the final in Paris, where they will face City’s domestic rivals Liverpool – but as he dissected the way to the stunning defeat from behind, Guardiola determined that he couldn’t have asked for more of his team.

“We haven’t spoken with the players – no words can help how we all feel“, he said, adding that the players had had time to digest the defeat.

“It’s just a matter of time, sleep as best you can and think about the next target.”

Man City have been one of the few mega-rich European clubs to be branded as having bought their way into football’s top flight through wealthy property – but Guardiola insists delivering trophies is secondary to building a healthy football club.

“I feel that the people of Abu Dhabi bought this club and invested in these incredible facilities and players – like many other clubs around the world – to not only win the Champions League.,” he said.

“The club never asked me to win a title, they asked me to play as well as possible, to compete with all the teams in England and Europe. It’s completely the opposite of what people think.

“Maybe I’m not good enough to help the team do it. Nobody knows what would have happened with other players or managers.

“People say that if this group of players doesn’t win the Champions League, they will be failures. I accept that. I totally disagree, in sport we know how difficult everything is, but I accept it. I’m not going to debate who is right or wrong..”

Guardiola added that these types of stories are common when a team suffers a big loss – but they don’t take into account the small details that could have led to a different outcome.

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“When we win the Champions League, and I hope we do, it will be because of the money we spend. It will never be for the work done behind the scenes. We have been the only club in the world since 10, 15 or 20 years spending money,” he explained.

“Now people say it’s a lack of character. Lack of character? What happens if Jack Grealish scores those two goals? What is the character? At Atletico Madrid when [Angel] Correa shot and Ederson saved, now it’s character. If Correa scores, it’s not character.

“I know people outside here just demand the Champions League, Champions League, Champions League. We know it.

“We were close – they know it, we know it – but what is important is that we will try again next season, then again, and in the Premier League. We have the Premier League in our hands.

“Now we are a little sad but these will be memories, we have lived them. Lifting trophies is so much fun – but the difference between winners and losers is only small. You play with emotions, and emotions are out of control.”

Guardiola and City must now wake up to the rest of their Premier League title fight with Liverpool.

City are one point ahead of their rivals with four games to go and host Newcastle at the Etihad on Sunday.

At this point, Liverpool could have passed them in the table as the Reds meet Tottenham at Anfield on Saturday night.


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