Man City now belong among European heavyweights - PEP GUARDIOLA claims

Sunday, March 10, 2024
 – Pep Guardiola has boasted that Manchester City have earned their place among the perennial contenders for Champions League glory after reaching the quarter-finals for a seventh consecutive season on Wednesday night.

Guardiola rested a host of star names in a 3-1 victory over FC Copenhagen at the Etihad that completed a 6-2 aggregate rout after goals from Manuel Akanji and Julian Alvarez ended the tie as a contest inside 10 minutes before Erling Haaland scored his 29th goal of the season.

City won European football for the first time in the club’s history last season, but Guardiola says his side are now seen as favourites for the competition ahead of the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

The English champions have not lost a Champions League game at the Etihad since 2018 and became the first side in the competition’s history to score three or more goals in nine consecutive home games.

“The important thing is being there (in the quarter-finals) seven years in a row, it’s quite impressive,” said Guardiola.

“We are well-respected from our opponents. The numbers are there – our consistency.

“I remember when I arrived, we didn’t believe, the club didn’t believe we could do it because we didn’t have the hierarchy in Europe like teams in Spain or Germany. It was a question of time, a process

“The problem is the managers in modern football don’t have time. They gave me time, our hierarchy, so credit to them to accept the process. Now we are a team that believe we can do it.”

City have won 18 and drawn two of their last 20 games in all competitions and remain the side to beat when the draw for the Champions League quarters and semi-finals takes place on March 15.

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