Pep Guardiola says he does not need to win a trophy in his second season at Manchester City, even if he considers his first campaign to have been a “disaster.”
Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola failed to win anything in his first year at the Etihad Stadium — the first time he has finished a season without silverware in his managerial career.
He is set for an expensive overhaul of his squad this summer to try to improve on City’s third-place finish and Champions League round-of-16 exit last season.
However, speaking at a charity event in Belfast hosted by golfer Rory McIlroy, he says he cannot guarantee success.
“I don’t think anyone regarded it as a season of transition — if you don’t win a trophy it is a disaster — but we still won’t begin this season thinking we need to win that trophy and this trophy,” he was quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.
“You’ve got to try to enjoy the process of building a team and keep striving to get better every day. What’s important is that the supporters know that when you go out you put your heart on the pitch.
“That’s what you can guarantee, but win? No. You want to win, of course, but so do the other ones.”
Guardiola also told a 2,000-strong audience that they should enjoy the ability to watch Lionel Messi before he retires because he is the best player he has ever seen.
“Why is he the best footballer I have ever seen? When the guy from above saw him, he just put a tick next to everything,” Guardiola said.
“He’s not only got the ability to see everything on a pitch, he scores three goals every game. He doesn’t say much but he gets the message across to the manager, his teammates and the spectators that he’s there.
“Knowing that they relax, they know that at some point he is going to make a dribble and score or make an assist. He’s the ultimate competitor, there’s nothing he likes more than cup finals or playing Real Madrid.
“If I have one piece of advice, it is that when Barcelona are playing, make sure you switch on the television. Because when he is finished playing, it is going to feel like a desert.”
The City boss repeatedly denied he was trying to take the Argentina star, who has now agreed a contract extension, to the Etihad.