‘Lyon was a tough moment, I still feel so responsible’: Pep Guardiola admits he’s been agonising over Manchester City’s shock Champions League quarter-final defeat last season… but insists his side are close to landing the No 1 prize in European football
- Pep Guardiola feels Man City are inching closer to becoming a force in Europe
- However, he admits he is still agonising over City’s shock exit by Lyon in August
- Lyon’s 3-1 quarter-final win continues to linger in Guardiola’s mind months on
- Despite having fallen short, the Catalan boss has talked up his team’s chances
Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City are inching closer to becoming a force in the Champions League – but is still agonising over the shock defeat by Lyon.
The City manager admitted that the disappointing 3-1 quarter-final reverse in August continues to linger ahead of this season’s opener against Porto on Tuesday.
Guardiola has yet to take this team beyond the last eight in the competition and, although the fallout of the Lyon game remains a sore point, he talked up their chances this season.
Pep Guardiola admits he’s been agonising over Man City’s Champions League exit last season
‘Lyon was a tough moment, I felt so responsible,’ Guardiola said. ‘Everyone fought to achieve it and I still feel so responsible.
‘We have to accept the reality that we weren’t good enough. Everyone has to dream with high expectations.
‘We have to accept it with humility. Accepting is the best way to improve. I felt so bad for the players. It’s a new chance now, a new opportunity.
‘I have the feeling that we’re close. Every season when we analyse when we went out, we are close.
City were dumped out of the quarter-finals by Lyon which remains a sore point at the Etihad
Lyon went through to the last four but would be beaten by eventual champions Bayern Munich
Guardiola admits he ‘felt so responsible’ for the result, describing it as a ‘tough moment’
‘When you review the games, even Liverpool and Tottenham, I always had the feeling that we are close. None of them were better than us.
‘There are little gaps. We have to solve it. If you don’t solve it, you don’t deserve it.’
Guardiola is set to be without Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte, Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy again through injury. City appear to ready to go as near to full strength as possible against Porto.
‘When you play the first game away, it’s not as important as the first at home,’ Guardiola said.
‘We have to get the three points tomorrow. Ruben (Dias) explained really well what Porto are as a team. We have to try to continue the good things we have done and be more consistent.’
However, Guardiola has talked up his side’s chances in the Champions League this season
Dias has impressed since joining from Porto’s rivals, Benfica, for £62million last month, and Guardiola praised his leadership qualities following Saturday’s victory over Arsenal.
‘I’ve always considered that in a team very single player need to lead himself,’ Dias said. ‘There is always a leader of the group but first of all he needs to lead himself.
‘I’ve worked my entire life to discipline myself, to know what I want, to work where I want to be. Everything else comes naturally with my personality. I’ll stay the way I am.’