Pep Guardiola spoke with the press ahead of the final matchday of the English Premier League.
The Manchester City boss touched on several topics relating to his team’s latest performances, but one quote caught a few by surprise.
The reason is that while the Premier League is considered by many to be the best football league in the world, Guardiola has gone one step more.
The Citizens will face Aston Villa in their last match of the season, were a win will guarantee them winning the trophy, while a list of the best sportsbooks in Ontario think Liverpool has what it takes to beat Wolverhampton at Anfield and best City’s result to take the league title.
Regardless of who ends up winning, it was surprising to hear what Pep Guardiola had to say. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager is no stranger to winning his team’s local league, with this potentially being his 10th league title in a silverware-filled career.
However, his luck hasn’t been as good in the UEFA Champions League, where has only reached the final once since leaving FC Barcelona, and has never won it again.
One would think then that Guardiola’s take is that of the UCL being a far harder trophy to obtain, where mistakes are more costly and the teams are far superior, but it is not.
“I would say it’s more difficult [to win the Premier League]. There’s a lot of weeks and games, struggles with injuries, good and bad moments with different situations, tough opponents,” Guardiola said. “”It’s satisfying because it’s every day. When you fight for the Premier League and have success right at the end, it gives you a sense that you enjoy it a lot. We are happier in our lives when you win. When you win and win it [makes for] good training sessions, a good environment and mood. It’s not like the FA Cup or a single game, it’s a routine. I’m not saying the Champions League is not important. We’re mad, crazy to win it. We want it, we love it. We’d love to be in Paris [in the final] next week but to win 38 games, rather than six, eight or nine games, is different”.
This threw a few people off as it’s most assuredly an odd comment for a manager that has dominated in the local league every time, but has since struggled to make his mark in the international competition. Many often blame Guardiola’s tactical tinkering for his teams suffering defeat at the hands of lower caliber opposition, like it happened in the 2020 Champions League quarter finals, where Manchester City was defeated by a much less fancied Olympique Lyonnais team.
However, this hasn’t been the first time Guardiola has expressed such opinions, most famously doing it in 2018, again iterating that the Premier League was a harder trophy to win than the top European competition. While other managers have said something similar (most famously, Guardiola’s arch-nemesis José Mourinho), it remains to be seen what will the Spaniard’s take if he ever gets to lift the prestigious trophy once again.