LONDON – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said that the Premier League leaders must maintain a lengthy period of dominance in England and Europe to be compared with his former club Barcelona.
City have won the League Cup in Guardiola’s second season in charge and are closing in on their first league title under the Spaniard. They are virtually through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a 4-0 win over Basel in the first leg of their last 16 encounter last month.
Asked ahead of tonight’s return fixture at the Etihad if City were at the same level as La Liga leaders Barca, Guardiola said: “No. It is not good to compare us with them. That team dominated the last 10 years. We just won our first title.”
Guardiola, 47, won 14 trophies in four seasons as Barcelona manager, including three league titles and two Champions League crowns.
“To be compared with these teams you have to be there for many, many years. We’ve just won one title,” he added.
City are 16 points clear of Manchester United but Guardiola said he would not shift his attention to securing European glory just yet.
“We' re so close. I’m not going to say we're not going to win. We’re almost in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and almost champions of the Premier League. But football is not done until it is done.”
Even with a healthy advantage, Guardiola urged caution against Basel: “It’s a Champions League game and the Champions League is something special. In football, anything is possible but we have to be calm and focused on what we have to do.”
Meanwhile Tottenham Hotspur’s Kieran Trippier made himself watch several reruns of Spurs’ 4-1 league defeat to City in December in a bid to learn from his mistakes and the fullback says the game served as a wake-up call.
Spurs, who face Juventus in the second leg of the Champions League last 16 tonight, were torn to shreds by the league leaders that day, with Trippier enduring a difficult afternoon against Leroy Sane.
Trippier dropped out of the starting 11 for the next two matches but has since fought his way back into the side.
“It wasn’t one of the best games I’ve had. But I’ve had a lot of games since then to build my confidence back up,” he said. “I just watched the game back a couple of times and looked at where I went wrong.
“I made quite a few mistakes that day and you can only learn. I’m still quite young so I’m willing to learn from the manager or from players.”
Spurs held Juventus to a 2-2 draw in Italy in the first leg.