Belfast Telegraph

No regrets for Pep Guardiola about first season at Manchester City

Pep Guardiola has no regrets about his first season in charge at Manchester City and is convinced they will qualify for the Champions League.

The City boss accepts there is a possibility his side could miss out - and would make adjustments accordingly - but is fully focused on achieving the bare minimum aim of a Premier League top-four spot.

City host rivals Manchester United on Thursday in a match that could have a huge bearing on both sides' Champions League ambitions.

Having failed to produce a serious title challenge, City are fourth with United just a point behind them in a tight battle.

Guardiola, whose last hope of silverware this season ended with FA Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, said: "I think we'll be able to qualify for the Champions League but if we are not able to we are going to adapt and play the Europa League.

"I am optimistic. I am so proud of my players, what we are doing and even how we played the last game at Wembley.

"I don't have regrets, I don't have complaints. At the end of the season - in my last press conference - I will explain my feelings if we are in or out."

Guardiola has attempted to play down the significance of the derby. The result could make a big difference to either sides' prospects but Guardiola is not ruling out further twists and turns elsewhere.

Guardiola said: "Every game is so, so important. It's going to go until the last game.

"We saw Liverpool lose at home against Crystal Palace and Palace have to come here after winning at Stamford Bridge, Anfield and at home against Arsenal.

"What I've learned here is that the difficulty with the top and low teams are quite similar.

"Middlesbrough will be difficult, Palace, West Brom, Watford. Game by game, we'll try to win the points and ensure Champions League next season."

Guardiola, meanwhile, has denied City have any interest in signing Dele Alli from Tottenham.

There have been reports linking the club with a summer move for the 21-year-old England forward, who was named PFA Young Player of the Year for a second successive time on Sunday.

But while it is thought City could make some major moves in transfer market this summer, Guardiola has assured Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino that Alli is not on his wish list.

Guardiola told Sky Sports: "Mauricio Pochettino has to stay calm. Dele Alli will be his player next season, I am pretty sure about that. We don't want him.

"He's someone who attacks the box and is one of the most fantastic players I have ever seen in my life, but Manchester City doesn't want Dele Alli."

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