MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Pep Guardiola may have won the Champions League once as a player and twice as a coach with Barcelona but his Manchester City side have yet to lift the trophy, prompting the manager to say the English champions are still ‘teenagers’ in the competition.
City take a 3-2 lead into their Champions League last-16 second leg against Schalke 04 at the Etihad on Tuesday, but Guardiola would not be drawn into title considerations so early.
“We could make another step this season, but you need 20, 30 years,” he told a news conference on Monday.
“We cannot deny, if we arrive in the last stages of this competition, we make another step forward, but I think to compare with other teams, one success doesn’t change it.
“We are teenagers in this competition.”
Although the first leg result puts City in the driving seat for a quarter-final spot, Guardiola warned against complacency.
“It’s 90 minutes of hard work ahead and we still we have a job to do,” the Spaniard added, citing Real Madrid and Paris St Germain, who last week were knocked out by Ajax Amsterdam and Manchester United respectively after winning the away leg.
In spite of the expectations on the Premier League leaders, Guardiola refused to put pressure on his team.
“The teams who went out at the group stage also had the desire. If you don’t win, next season try to win it,” he said.
“I don’t feel this kind of pressure to win it. Chelsea spent a lot of time to win it (for the only time in 2012). Everybody wants it, but I don’t feel the pressure.”
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)