Manchester City are not haunted by 2021 final defeat, insists Pep Guardiola | Manchester City

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Manchester City are not haunted by 2021 final defeat, insists Pep Guardiola | Manchester City

Pep Guardiola has insisted he is not haunted by Manchester City’s Champions League final defeat against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea in 2021, before the quarter-final first leg on Tuesday against the German’s current team, Bayern Munich.

City lost the 2021 showpiece 1-0a Chelsea triumph that was engineered by Tuchel with Kai Havertz’s breakaway goal proving the winner. Yet Guardiola said on Monday that he was not troubled by the reverse for too long.

“I was sad but I congratulated him and Chelsea for the victory. It happened,” he said. “I reviewed the game a month later. It was not as bad as I thought but at the same time it was not at all a good enough performance to win it. It was a tight, tight game like they always have been against Chelsea in that period. (So): forget it and try again.”

This is Guardiola’s seventh attempt to lead City to the Champions League, having come up short six times, but he did win it twice with Barcelona, in 2009 and 2011. In defending City’s record in Europe with him as manager, Guardiola brought up the American golfer Jack Nicklaus, whose 18 major championships is a record.

Guardiola said: “That is my dream, to live this again. To be here in front of you in a Champions League competition. We want to try like we try all the time but it doesn’t mean we are going to win. Yesterday, it was the Masters. How many Masters has Jack Nicklaus played or majors has he played in his career? In 30-40 years as a golfer of four majors (each year)?

“How many wins out of 164 tries? Eighteen wins. Wow. He loses more than he wins. That is sport. In football, in golf, in basketball. Michael Jordan, the best athlete for me in basketball, won six NBA titles out of 14 years. He loses more than he wins. What is important is to be here, compete well, do our best, knowing that tomorrow at 8pm we have to be perfect to try to get a good result to go to Germany (for the second leg).

“No more than that. I live my profession that way. After that if I lose, I lose. I’m not perfect. What is important is we are still there after winning what we won last season. That is my biggest compliment that I can give our team.”

Rúben Dias (centre) has urged Manchester City to show their best against Bayern Munich. Photograph: Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC/Getty Images

The central defender Rúben Dias, who played in the final loss against Chelsea and in last year’s 6-5 semi-final aggregate defeat by Real Madridbelieves City are primed for the challenge of Bayern.

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“All of us have a special feeling, a special taste when it comes to this stage,” he said. “Now is the time to be together and be producing – to be out on the pitch and do what we can do, show the best of every one of us. Now is the moment for the team to go through or not. I think our team is fed by these moments and that is a very good characteristic to have.”

Dias offered a philosophical take on City’s recent Champions League performances. “We have done very well but it is not enough. We know we still have a lot to do. Like a very wise man said to me: ‘We didn’t lose the final, we just got one step closer (to winning it).’ That is the way to see it. Every year is about us getting closer and closer and making our name even more proud.”

Asked when these words about the final were said to him, Dias said: “That was the precise day (of the defeat) the wise man told me those words. The moment I listened to these words it all made more sense.”.

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