Pep Guardiola insists he will not lose any sleep over Manchester City‘s efforts to win an elusive first ever Champions League title.
The draw for this year’s competition this week appeared to offer City a favourable route into the knock-out stages, pairing them with Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Italian side Atalanta.
After Guardiola led City to every domestic trophy last season, there appears more pressure than ever on the highly-decorated coach to land the European crown for his wealthy owners.
But Guardiola insists the prospect of failure in the tournament for a fourth successive season does not concern him, despite a record of two quarter-final appearances and one in the last 16 while at the Etihad.
Breaking the hoodoo
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Guardiola said: “It’s important, I know it’s important and if it happens it will be important.
“But I will be the same guy, I’ll wake up in the morning, work a lot, go to sleep as early as possible, eat good, take care of myself as best as possible and love the people I love.
“I’m going to do my best but it’s not going to change my life.
“When I say thank you to everybody for my time here it’s not going to change my opinion about this title or that title.
“We are happy with what we’ve done so far, we came here to play the way we want to play. If we’re good enough we’ll fight until the end, if not we’re going to try next season.”
Read more: Echoes of Joe Hart omission in dropping of Kyle Walker
Guardiola’s star players endured mixed fortunes on the international front this week, with right-back Kyle Walker being left out of the England squad by Gareth Southgate.
However, City centre-half Aymeric Laporte was called up by the French national team – the first time in the three years he has been in their squad – and will be aiming to make his international debut in upcoming games with Albania and Andorra.
“I was a little bit surprised at first,” said Guardiola of Walker’s omission. “But I’m not involved.
“We’ll respect the decision. Kyle is coming back stronger. I understand him and support Gareth.
“I’m pretty sure the players want to go to the national team. It’s happened, so we adapt. We have time with our family now with the international break. Come back and play as best as possible to come back to the national team
“For me Aymeric is the best left-sided centre defender in Europe. I’m incredibly grateful to Didier Deschamps. Hopefully he can play good and stay there for a long time. All of us are so happy for him because he was looking for this call for a long time.”
Walker’s situation may soon be complicated at club level, as well as national team, with Guardiola insisting that £60 million summer signing Joao Cancelo is ready to start his City career and will be used in the busy schedule that follows next week’s international break.
“When we come back, we play with Norwich, then go to the Ukraine, then another game here,” said Guardiola.
“It starts the real season. Joao we’re delighted what we’ve seen but he arrived late. There are many things Kyle knows completely and Joao is starting to understand what to do. Maybe now or after the break he’ll start to play.”
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