Spaniard admits his disappointment at how first year in charge at the Etihad has gone
PEP GUARDIOLA says Manchester City can have no complaints if they end up in the Europa League next season.
Their place in the top four is on the line as they face neighbours United in the derby at the Etihad tonight.
Defeat against Jose Mourinho‘s men would see City slip to fifth – just days after seeing their final chance of a trophy this year disappear at Wembley.
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Guardiola says the team has not kicked on as much as he hoped since they dazzled the nation with their superb first half show at Old Trafford back in September.
And a disappointing first season in charge would get a whole lot worse if they fail to book a place in the Champions League again for next term.
Asked how his team has progressed, Pep said: “It was not good enough to what I’d expect.
“But in other terms I didn’t expect many things of what we have and things we’ve done. In other terms I’m happy. I’m quite satisfied of what we have done.
“If you analyse the trophies, how many were we able to win this year? Zero. It’s easy to analyse.
“It’s simple like that. If you analyse how many titles was good or not good then the season was not good.”
City now have just a one point lead over United as they head into the third derby of the season. Tonight’s result is seen as pivotal to both team’s hopes of securing Champions League football – although Pep expects it to go right down to the end of the season.
He said: “I don’t have regrets. I don’t have complaints. We’re going to see.
“I think we’ll be able to qualify for the Champions League but if we are not able to we are going to adapt and play the Europa League.
“I am optimistic. I am so proud of my players, and what we are doing and even how we played the last game at Wembley.
“At the end of the season – in my last press conference – I will explain my feelings if we are in or out.”
United’s 23 game unbeaten league record is on the line at the Etihad – but Guardiola feels nothing will be decided.
He added: “I said before that this run will happen until the last game. Every game is so, so important. It’s going to go until the last game.
“We saw Liverpool lose at home against Crystal Palace. Palace have to come here after winning at Stamford Bridge, Anfield and at home against Arsenal.
“What I’ve learned here is that the difficulty with the top and low teams is quite similar, in the way you face them. It’s not so different.
“Middlesbrough will be difficult, Palace, West Brom, Watford. Game by game, we’ll try to win the points and ensure Champions League next season.”
The way United were ripped apart in September will live long in the memory of City fans.
Guardiola said: “During the season we played many many games at the same level or even better than that level.
“The problem is in Old Trafford we arrived (in the box) two or three times in the first half and we scored two goals. We arrived more and didn’t score (in other games).
“The first time they arrived, they scored a goal. I remember that after Ibrahimovic scored to make it 2-1, the first half could have finished 3-2 for United.
“My feeling is that in the box we weren’t good enough but in the way we played in the first half in Manchester we did it many times.”