Pep Guardiola has challenged his critics to “find a new argument now” after his Manchester City team’s success in the 2022-23 Champions League.
- City beat Inter to win Champions League
- Bagged a historic treble
- Pep already has his eyes on Wembley final in 2024
WHAT HAPPENED? City bagged a historic treble after beating Inter by a slender 1-0 margin in the Champions League final. It was Guardiola’s final piece in the jigsaw having ruthlessly dominated England since he took charge at the Etihad Stadium in 2016. Despite falling to Chelsea in the 2021 final, the Spanish manager was confident that it was just a matter of time before his troops were crowned European champions. Now that they have convincingly stamped their authority, he has challenged his critics to find another argument.
WHAT THEY SAID: “The Champions League is a truly difficult competition. As a club who had never won it before, it is great to have achieved it,” Guardiola told UEFA.com. “We are really proud. After winning five Premier League titles, everybody started to say that if we didn’t win the Champions League it would not be a complete success. They will have to find another argument now. The most important thing is that we had been there or thereabouts for a long time, and knew we would win it eventually.”
When asked if he had given a motivational talk before the final, Guardiola revealed: “I didn’t say anything at all. Time has taught us that the team is more relaxed when there are no distractions. We have been together for seven years and know each other pretty well. It was just about keeping up the hard work we had done throughout the season. We knew how difficult the opposition would be, and that was the case. We also knew about the tension we would experience, which we couldn’t get rid of completely. The first time you win a Champions League is always an emotionally challenging situation. That would probably change a bit if we get the chance to play another final.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: After clinching his third Champions League, having previously won the competition two times with Barcelona, Guardiola is not ready to rest on his laurels and is eyeing to repeat the heroics in 2024 at Wembley in London. “I have very good memories of Wembley. I’ve lost some semi-finals but the finals have gone really well for me,” he added. “I remember the 1992 European Cup final as a Barcelona player, when we won the club’s first title at the old Wembley, which was beautiful. Later I won with Barcelona as a manager [in 2011] against Manchester United. However, it’s a long road. There is still much to do. The new season is just starting, but it’s good the final will be held at Wembley. It’s a fantastic stadium and city, and UEFA will organise an amazing tournament for sure.”
IN TWO PHOTOS:
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WHAT NEXT? After losing to Arsenal in the FA Community Shield, Manchester City will be eager to return to winning ways against Burnley in their Premier League opener on Friday before taking on Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup final on August 16.
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