Pep: Critics will round on us if we fail in Europe

Pep Guardiola claims some critics will write his Manchester City side off as a failure if they do not win the Champions League.

Pep: Critics will round on us if we fail in Europe

Pep Guardiola claims some critics will write his Manchester City side off as a failure if they do not win the Champions League.

City have spent more than £500m (€565.4m) on players since Guardiola took charge at the Etihad Stadium in 2016.

They won the Premier League in some style last season and are again top of the table this term, but Guardiola knows expectations are high.

“For the people who don’t love us too much, who use money as an argument, then we have failed if we don’t win the Champions League,” said Guardiola, whose side continue their latest European campaign at Lyon tonight.

For the others, especially our fans who say they enjoy watching our games and enjoy what we are doing, I’m pretty sure they won’t have regrets about what these guys have been doing every three days for the last 15 months.

“That is the best compliment, the best success the team can have. But, of course, we want to qualify, continue our level in the Premier League and arrive in the best possible condition with everybody fit to challenge again to go quite far.

“After that, the competition speaks for itself. We can have a lot of desire and wishes but the competition is so tough.”

City can secure their place in the last 16 for a sixth successive season with a draw tonight and a victory would seal top spot in Group F with a game to spare.

Guardiola’s side have recovered well by reeling off three successive victories in the competition since suffering a surprise 2-1 loss to Lyon at the Etihad Stadium in September.

They now lead the group by three points from Lyon, who have drawn their last three fixtures.

But Guardiola, wary of what occurred last time the sides met, is not taking anything for granted against a side who can also make sure of progress with a victory.

Guardiola said: “They were better. In the first half they were better than us. They have a strong team. They have top, top players.

"When you lose the first game at home the group stage becomes so tough but we did our job, winning the next three and the other opponents drew.

“We tried to avoid arriving in the last game demanding a win to qualify and we have a big chance tomorrow. We reacted so well but the job is not over. Hopefully we can close it tomorrow.”

Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, and Gabriel Jesus all failed to travel due to knocks but City are hopeful the problems are not serious.

“I would prefer to have all the squad but it is what it is,” Guardiola said. “We have to adapt.”

Guardiola added that youngster Phil Foden was “definitely” ready to start should he be required.

In a light-hearted moment, Guardiola jokingly aimed a fake punch at a reporter asking him in French to compare himself with his Manchester United counterpart and rival Jose Mourinho.

“I am not the guy to answer that,” he said.

Lyon remain unbeaten in the competition having drawn three games in succession, one against Shakhtar Donetsk (2-2) and the other two against Hoffenheim (3-3 and 2-2).

Coach Bruno Genesio said:

We are facing a team who are superior to us on paper but, as you saw in the first game, we are able to win and we hope to do the same thing tomorrow. I will be telling my team they all need to be at 150%.

Lyon have a doubt over star player Nabil Fekir, who suffered a groin injury in last Friday’s victory over St Etienne.

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