Manchester City: Will Pep Guardiola's season be considered a failure if he doesn't win the Champions League?
Pep Guardiola arrived on the management scene with little or no fanfare. He started as the coach of Barcelona's B team in 2007 but was appointed first-team manager following Frank Rijkaard's departure in the summer of 2008.
What followed was an awe-inspiring campaign which saw his team win an unprecedented treble, and he entered the record books as the youngest man to manage a UCL winning team.
Pep Guardiola's Barca went on to appear in a further two consecutive UCL finals, winning one of those in 2011, adding a second Champions League medal to his already burgeoning medal collection.
That has been his last appearance in the UCL final till date, and he has spent a massive 8 years in the wilderness, as he has continually come up short in that period.
Pep is inarguably one of the best managers of all time, with an enviable stash of medals, however, the spectre of his Champions League failings in recent times at Bayern Munich and Manchester City looms large.
Three consecutive UCL semifinal ousters with Bayern were followed by 3 consecutive knockout phase ousters at the helm of Man City. Now questions are being asked, with fans and pundits pointing to the huge piles of cash already spent by the Spanish gaffer so far in failed bids to bring the elusive title to Bavaria and Manchester in recent times.
Pep has been hugely successful domestically during his European drought, especially in the PL. He has revolutionized the way football is played in England, and he has won 2 consecutive PL titles, including an unprecedented domestic treble last season.
The upcoming season is going to be a grueling one domestically, with the impressive Liverpool side looking to with their first-ever PL title, and the likes of Man Utd, Arsenal, and Tottenham defiantly gearing up for the race. Pep's City will be looking to match their cross-town rivals by winning a third consecutive PL title.
Winning the PL for a third consecutive time would be a hugely laudable achievement, given the nature of the competition, however, questions about the elusive UCL title will only get louder next season, and Pep Guardiola more than anyone will seek to provide an emphatic response to those questions.
The Spaniard will be expected to go full throttle in Europe next term because the Champions League is the final frontier for Man City.
"It’s tough, we were close to go through, it’s cruel, but we have to accept it. The mistakes in this competition punish you a lot. Unfortunately it was a bad end for us."
- Pep Guardiola (April 2019)