Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes Pep Guardiola’s lack of focus on his opponents is the principal cause of City’s downfall in Europe. The Dutchman feels his former player is failing to see the threats from the opposition by concentrating too much on his own team’s style of play:
“Winning the English League for the second time in a row is fantastic. Guardiola has won all that can be won in England, but the big level is Champions (League). And that he could not win with either City or Bayern, this is the consequence of being overly concerned about your team’s game and not caring about your opponent’s game. You must always respect your opponent. Guardiola has high-quality teams for his national rivals. But that doesn’t apply to Champions (League).”
The Citizens went out of the quarter-final stages last season, being eliminated on away goals by Tottenham. The season before that, they lost out to Liverpool at the same stage, while in Guardiola’s first campaign as manager, they only progressed to the last 16 before being knocked out by Monaco.
It must be said that the Spurs tie, in particular, was decided by very fine margins. Knockout football is a different animal to the league and one-off matches can be very hard to predict.
Considering how successful City have been domestically under Guardiola, it is surely only a matter of time before they win Europe’s premier competition.