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Other SportsManchester City: Guardiola believes Champions League has got harder ahead of Copenhagen...

Manchester City: Guardiola believes Champions League has got harder ahead of Copenhagen test

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes it is harder to win the Champions League now than when he started out as a manager at Barcelona in 2008.

City claimed the trophy for the first time last season and are on the brink of qualification to the quarter-finals this term, heading into tomorrow night’s round of 16 second leg at home to FC Copenhagen with a 3-1 advantage.

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Guardiola first won the Champions League as a coach with Barca in 2009, winning it again in 2011.

He believes the competition has evolved over the past 15 years.

He said: “It’s getting better, getting tougher. In the first years at Barca, we used to arrive in the semis, now it’s more difficult. The teams are better, the managers are better, everything is more difficult. But the better teams always go through.”

Asked if winning it last season with City was a better achievement than with Barca, he added: “No, I don’t want to diminish anything.  

“Every moment is every moment. At Barca, at Bayern, every trophy you win is difficult, it is not for granted. You have to be good at the right moment, lucky at the right moment.”

City remain on course to repeat last season’s remarkable treble triumph of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup but Guardiola insists he is focusing on one game at a time.

“The only target is try to qualify tomorrow for the quarter-final,” he said. We are far far away talking about these things. 

“Okay, we won the final against Inter Milan but we are in the beginnings of March. Tomorrow we play Copenhagen. I am focused since yesterday afternoon, this morning and today on that.

“It’s better to be here having already won the Champions League but like I said it [the treble season] is over.”

City are overwhelming favourites to progress given their current form but Guardiola was typically reluctant to take anything for granted.

He said: “I have a lot of respect for Copenhagen.

“They are really well organised. Always I am aware of all of the opposition players, especially for our players and what they have to do. We struggled last season to win there.

“We play a really good team when you consider what happened for them against Manchester United and Galatasaray. How difficult it was for Bayern Munich in Copenhagen. I know perfectly their strengths and qualities because they have two years in a row with the same manager. They have pace in the transition but especially what I like a lot is the way they defend and are compact.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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