MANCHESTER (Reuters): Pep Guardiola has won nine major trophies at Manchester City but the Spaniard said his managerial era at the Premier League club will be defined by whether he delivers their first Champions League title.
Guardiola has won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and four League Cups at City but European success has eluded the manager who won the trophy twice as Barcelona manager, with the English club’s best finish being runners-up in 2021.
When asked if winning the trophy with City would define his success in the eyes of the public, Guardiola told reporters: “Yes. That doesn’t mean I agree with that but, absolutely, we’ll be judged for that competition.
“My first Champions League game here (in 2016), they asked, ‘Are you here to win the Champions League?’ If I was manager for Real Madrid I could understand, but I accept it. As much as we go through, it’s not going to change that.”
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City host RB Leipzig in the second leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday after the first game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Guardiola also said there was room for improvement in striker Erling Haaland’s all-round game even though the Norwegian has scored 34 goals this season.
“I don’t like one player just to score goals in the box. It’s important, we need it of him,” he said.
“But away from the opponents’ box where he cannot score a goal, we need him to be more active. We have to take a look at him and he has to be involved in what we’re doing. He has improved, he can be better.”
Haaland has netted six times against Leipzig in his career.
Although his scoring rate has come down after a blistering start this season, midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said the team was happy with his output.
“I feel like in the beginning of the season when everything was going in and we were winning a lot of games there was nothing going wrong, but when you lose a few points it’s different,” De Bruyne said.
“I don’t feel there is any issue. I have not heard anything coming out from the team, from Erling or anyone else.
“People outside will judge on how we play. Maybe some games we play a better brand of football then in others or in other years. But in other games, Crystal Palace at home (where Haaland got a hat-trick in a 4-2 win), for example, he won us the game.”
Haaland also scored the winner with a penalty at Palace on Saturday.