Pep Guardiola denied that Manchester City’s loss to Chelsea in last season’s Champions League final was a failure and insisted it was an “incredible feat”.
The biggest prize in European club football remains hidden from City, who were underutilized in a 1-0 defeat by the Blues in Porto in May.
Guardiola hasn’t won the Champions League with Barcelona since 2011, but he sees City’s campaign as a success in last season’s competition.
Before the opening game of this year’s tournament with RB Leipzig on Wednesday, Guardiola said: “Every time I start this competition with verve. I am incredibly happy here.
“Man City took a step forward last season, we improved a lot. We had 13 games and won 11. We played incredibly well in Porto when we drew and deserved to win.
“We lost the final. It can be said that Man City was a failure, but it was an incredible feat last season to play really well in a lot of games and lose well against a big competitor.
“Now we’re starting over and every team wants to win. We’ll try, but I won’t tell you which team will win because I don’t know.
“We’re going to practice this afternoon and try to keep the rhythm of Norwich, Arsenal and Leicester up and running.
“The most important thing for the club is that we have always been in this competition in recent years. We’re doing really well, that’s why we deserve to be there.
“Then you measure yourself against the best teams in Europe. It is not guaranteed that you will play another really bad Champions League season after a really bad Champions League season, and the opposite is true.
“The first goal is to win tomorrow, try to keep the rhythm and the way we played last season and the last three games, and see what happens.”
When asked whether the expectation of having to win the Champions League annoyed him, Guardiola replied: “I accept it. Every year is the same. If I win the Champions League, I’ll be happy for the club. If I can’t, I can’t.
“Then you can judge the success of my period. I try to do my best every day, whether I win or not. People judge my job the way I judge my players and how incredible they have done over the past five years.