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Bayern Munich

They told me that you have to win the Champions League – Guardiola says European expectations are ‘always on our shoulders’

The manager knows his tenure will largely be defined by whether he can deliver European success

Pep Guardiola has not forgotten the message he received when he first arrived at Manchester City from Bayern Munich in 2016 – win the Champions League, or you cannot be considered wholly successful.

The manager revealed after Tuesday’s last-16 trouncing of Borussia Monchengladbach that those words have stuck with him as he tries to break a quarter-finals curse with perhaps his best Citizens squad to date, saying “the prestige for all of us” that would accompany European glory is of huge importance.

Guardiola’s side has now won 24 of 25 contests in all competitions but will likely encounter a top-tier continental giant in the last-eight.

What has been said?

“Since the first year I arrived they told me that you have to win the Champions League,” Guardiola told reporters.

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“It is always on our shoulders, but I’m not concerned about that. If you deserve it in football, you go through. If you don’t, you don’t.

“I’m not thinking to get to the semi-finals. I’m thinking to do a good first game and a good second game.

“When you are thinking about what you are going to win, you forget what you have to do – analyse the opponent, our shape, the way we want to play, our principles, and trying to do a good game. This is all I am concerned with.

“But, saying that, I’m more than incredibly impressed and delighted for our players in this tough year for everyone in society, being 14 points clear in the Premier League and in the final of the Carabao Cup and quarter-final of the Champions League and going to play to get to the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

“It is more than winning one quarter-final or one last-16 game. It means that in nine or 10 months every three days you are there and this is the best title you can get. Of course for the prestige for all of us, because we are here to win like all other clubs, we have to try it in the end to lift some titles.”

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