Pep Guardiola denied that Manchester City’s defeat to Chelsea in last season’s Champions League final was a failure, insisting it was an “incredible achievement”.
European club football’s biggest prize continues to elude City, who were disappointed in the 1-0 defeat to the Blues in Porto in May.
Guardiola hasn’t won the Champions League since he did with Barcelona in 2011, but sees City’s campaign in last season’s competition as a success.
Ahead of this year’s tournament opener with RB Leipzig on Wednesday, Guardiola said: “Every time I start this competition with determination. I am incredibly happy here.
“Manchester City took a step forward last season, we have improved a lot. We played 13 games and won 11. We played incredibly well in Porto when we drew and deserved to win.
“We lost the final. People may say that Manchester City were a failure, but they were an incredible achievement last season, playing really well in many games and losing well to a great contender.
“Now we start a new one and every team wants to win. We will try but I won’t tell you which team will win because I don’t know.
“We will train this afternoon and try to continue the pace of Norwich, Arsenal and Leicester.
“The most important thing for the club is that we have always been in this competition in recent years. We do really well, which is why we deserve to be there.
“After that, compete with the best teams in Europe. There is no guarantee that if you have a really bad Champions League season, you will have a really bad Champions League season again and it’s the same with the other way around.
The first objective is to win tomorrow, try to keep the pace and the way we played last season and the last three games and see what happens. “
Asked if the expectation of having to win the Champions League bothers him, Guardiola replied: “I accept it. Every year is the same. If I win the Champions League I will be happy for the club. If I am unable to do so, I am not. able to.
“After that, you can judge the success of my period. I try to do my best every single day, winning or not winning. People rate my work as I rate my players and how incredibly they have done in the last five years. “