Man City

Pep Guardiola: European games are 'getting harder'

The Manchester City boss reckons teams are more well-drilled and more prepared for the European competition than ever before

 
4:39pm on Monday 2nd November 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

Pep Guardiola has had his say on the how difficult it is to win the Champions League these days, saying "teams are better" than they were previously.

The Spaniard won the competition twice with Barcelona but failed to do so with Bayern, while he is yet to go beyond the quarter-final stage as manager of Manchester City.

In their most recent finished Champions League campaign in 2019/20, they were surprisingly eliminated by Ligue 1 side Lyon in the last eight.

In the 2020/21 edition of the tournament, they have comfortably won both matches in their group so far against Porto and Marseille.

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But, Guardiola thinks that, overall, teams are improving year to year.

"It’s tough, really tough. There’s many examples to prove what I’m saying. There are more games with managers better prepared, more games where they know what they have to do. Teams are better," the former Barca and Bayern boss said ahead of City's clash with Olympiacos on Tuesday.

"There is more money everywhere not just a few clubs, a lot of clubs have the possibility to spend and buy players, and there are important managers.

Guardiola went on to cite Atalanta's progression to the semi-final last year and Shakhtar's recent win away at Real Madrid as examples of underdogs matching of overcoming more elite teams.

"It’s difficult. Last season, Atalanta, look what happened, semi-finals of the Champions League, and the Italian league was incredible," he added.

"Shakhtar Donetsk, look what happened in Real Madrid and a draw against Inter. It ridiculous, this didn’t exist before. It doesn’t matter where you go.

"It's hard to qualify [for the knockout stage], every time we qualify I say to players 'congratulations, enjoy that moment' but it’s the first success of the season, to qualify for the next round."

After their opening six matches of the Premier League season, City are down in 10th with 11 points taken so far. This weekend they take on champions, Liverpool.

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