Guardiola will be desperate to conquer Europe with City
Former Manchester City defender Mark Seagraves has made a bold claim involving Pep Guardiola ahead of the Champions League semi-finals. The Premier League giants will lock horns with Real Madrid in the first leg of their semi-final at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
Ahead of a hugely-significant tie for Manchester City, Seagraves believes manager Guardiola will be under pressure. Since Guardiola took over the reigns at the club back in 2016, he has achieved unparalleled success at the domestic level. Under his tutelage, City have won the Premier League thrice, the League Cup on four different occasions and the FA Cup once.
City have also spent heavily on their squad during his time, bringing in several players without worrying about the fees involved. Despite their investments and the achievements in England, Guardiola and company have, however, failed to make a mark in the Champions League.
The Cityzens were close to winning the trophy last season, but suffered a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the final. As such, their wait to be crowned champions of Europe continues. Thanks to their incredible squad, City are again among the favorites to win the competition this season. But the tag of being one of the front-runners to win a trophy that has eluded them will put pressure on Guardiola, according to Seagraves.
Speaking to Sportskeeda ahead of the semi-finals, he claimed:
“His [Guardiola’s] job description when he came to Manchester City was to win the Champions League. He hasn’t done it, he has got close, but he should have won it by now with the team and the money he has had at his disposal. “Football is a ruthless business and we’ve seen managers being sacked for lesser offenses. The time will be right in his own mind as well [to move on from Manchester City after winning the Champions League this season]. He’ll want to make sure that when he leaves, he will have put a Champions League in the Manchester City trophy cabinet.”
Seagraves also admitted that it isn’t easy for any manager to tick all the boxes in modern football, especially if they are backed by wealthy owners. He explained that the City Football Group is no different, insisting they are desperate for Manchester City to win the Champions League. Seagraves also feels Guardiola could return to coaching later this year at the FIFA World Cup, if he decides to part ways with City.
“Having said that, I know the hardships of football and that the owners want to win. Don’t get me wrong, Pep has won everything as you said, but this is the one trophy that they want. We’ve seen Chelsea being able to dominate after Abramovich’s money has come in and they’ve won every title that you can win. The owners at Manchester City are desperate to win the Champions League and the pressure will be on Pep.” “He deserves to be there [at City] because of all the trophies that he’s won but the one that’s eluded him is the big one and that’s the Champions League. So he needs to maybe win that [this season]. If he gets sacked, absolutely [we can see him coaching at the 2022 FIFA World Cup].”
Manchester City could face English opponents again in the Champions League final if they beat Real Madrid
While Manchester City host Real Madrid in the semi-final first leg on Tuesday, their English rivals Liverpool are set to face Villarreal the next day. Should both the Premier League sides win their respective two-legged semi-finals, the Champions League will witness another all-English final.
Notably, two of the last three finals in the competition have been contested between teams from England. Considering how Manchester City and Liverpool are also pushing each other in a hotly-contested Premier League title race, another showdown in Europe’s biggest final could be the icing on the cake for fans of both sides.
It will be interesting to see who prevails at the end of what could turn out to be a historic campaign for the clubs.
Watch UEFA Champions League 2021-22 (Semi Final Leg 1) – Man. City vs. Real Madrid LIVE on SONY TEN 2 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels on 27th April 2022, at 12:30 am IST.
Watch (Semi Final Leg 1) – Liverpool vs. Villarreal LIVE on SONY TEN 2 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) & SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels on 28th April 2022, at 12:30 am IST.