Belfast Telegraph

Manchester City must win much more to be on a par with Barcelona, says Guardiola

By Andy Hampson

Pep Guardiola has dismissed claims his Manchester City side are now at the level of Barcelona.

City are regarded as Champions League favourites in many quarters having enjoyed an outstanding season to date.

They won the Carabao Cup last month and are within four wins of claiming the Premier League title having opened up a 16-point lead at the top.

They should also secure a place in the Champions League quarter-finals tonight as they go into the second leg of their last-16 tie against Basel holding a 4-0 aggregate lead.

But asked if his side were now a match for his former club Barcelona, City boss Guardiola said: "No, because it is completely different. Their players won a lot in the past, we are new here.

"Now we can say we won one title but it is not good to compare with that team. They dominated the last decade with different managers, different players. Every season they won a lot of things.

"We just won the first title. To think about joining these kind of teams you have to be there a long time, many years."

City may have a commanding lead over Basel but Guardiola will not accept any drop in intensity at the Etihad Stadium.

He said: "We start again from zero. We have to be focused not to make a mistake - just be focused on what we have to do, offensively and defensively, to control the game and go through. That's the target.

"Champions League games are something special and you have to be focused. Of course we are delighted with the result we have done but in football everything can happen."

Belfast Telegraph

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