Pep Guardiola has admitted he still feels responsible for the manner of Manchester City’s exit from the Champions League last season.
City begin a fresh bid to win the major trophy missing from their collection when they face Porto at the Etihad on Wednesday night, but memories of the quarter-final exit to Lyon in August remain fresh with Guardiola.
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He said: “It was a tough moment, I felt so responsible for how the club felt, the players, I was not able to drive the club and I feel responsible.
“But watching the games we have to accept the reality that we were not good enough. We did not play bad, we played some real good moments but we sometimes made mistakes and in this competition you cannot do it.”
City could now try to use that disappointment as fuel, with Guardiola adding that his team were not far away.
“I always had the feeling we were close,” he said. “The gaps were little but you have to close these gaps. We have to solve it.
“It’s the past. Now is a new opportunity and we are going to start at zero again.”
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach put added importance on Wednesday’s fixture given it is at home.
“The reality to win the home games is so important for qualification,” he said. “We’re still a little bit away from where we want to be.”
City were without Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus, Aymeric Laporte and Benjamin Mendy for Saturday’s 1-0 win over Arsenal, but Guardiola said the situation was slowly improving.
“Oleksandr Zinchenko is back and other players are back,” he said. “Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo are in good condition. We expect Benjamin Mendy back soon so the team will grow.”
Dias: I love pressure and have Porto intel
City’s summer signing Ruben Dias says he is relishing the pressure of representing a team who are trying to win the Champions League.
The Portugal international also says he is well placed to offer insight into the opposition from his time at rivals Benfica.
“I’m probably the person who knows [Porto] best, I will try to help the best I can. Hopefully it will be good intel for the way we approach the game,” he said.
“I’ve had pressure when I was young, when I got to the Benfica first team, in the national team. It’s something that is part of football, and the higher you go the more you have. I like it, it’s all good.”
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