Pep Guardiola insists his legacy at Manchester City is “already exceptional” despite his team’s failure to win a European trophy.
City can take a major step towards remedying that when they face Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final at the Etihad Stadium tonight, having drawn 1-1 in Madrid last week.
But with City closing in on a potential treble, Guardiola says failing to win in Europe this season would not tarnish his tenure in the north west.
Guardiola chasing treble
“My legacy is already exceptional,” he said . “[We’ve been] here many times already. We are not stupid, we know how important [tonight] is – maybe the most important since we’ve been here.
“I say it to the players: live it, enjoy the moment and how fortunate we are. It’s in our hands, it depends on us.
“We don’t have to do anything exceptional – [just] be ourselves and give everything.
“I have an incredible feeling about the team. Whatever happens, thank you for bringing us here again.”
Manchester City led going into the second leg against the same opponents at the same stage last season but conceded goals in the 90th, 91st and 95th minute to hand eventual winners Real Madrid a place in the final.
The club were runners-up to Chelsea in the year prior, losing 1-0 to the Blues in Lisbon, in a competition which has eluded Guardiola at City and previously at Bayern Munich.
“The legacy is that we’ve had one hell of a time and for many years they [the fans] will remember a generation of players who for five or six years scored lots of goals and conceded very few,” the 52-year-old Spaniard added.
“We won lots of things and won very well, and people should remember that. It would be a good book.
“Whether or not they will remember us I don’t know, but we have had a good time.”
Should City beat Real Madrid, they will play in the final in Istanbul on 10 June – although there have been reports suggesting the final could be moved based on potential unrest around the Turkish elections.
And by the time City head to the final, should they get there, they could have secured two trophies.
City could theoretically win the Premier League for a fifth time in six years this weekend depending on their match with Chelsea and Arsenal’s clash with Nottingham Forest.
City will also take on Manchester United in the FA Cup final on 3 June.