Guardiola not Gambling all on Champions League

Despite dominating English football in recent times, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is putting Premier League glory at the top of his list of ambitions for the new season.

On Sunday, City tackle Champions League winners Liverpool in the Community Shield at Wembley in the traditional season curtain-raiser.

Liverpool won their sixth European Cup with victory over Tottenham in May, and while Guardiola does want to conquer Europe with City, he prefers the sustained excellence that a successful league campaign brings over the vagaries of the post-Christmas knockout rounds.

The 48-year-old Spaniard has won eight titles in ten seasons as a manager and he is now aiming to repeat the three straight league title wins he had at German giants Bayern Munich with City.

“The Champions League is an important tournament and difficult to win,” he said.

“But it’s seven games (the knockout stages). I am not going to go to the casino and gamble everything I have in my pocket on seven games. I don’t want that.

“I want to be happy for 11 months and the Premier League makes me happy. Every game when we win, I am happy and I go to a restaurant feeling better.

“Why am I going to wait until February for seven games and put everything on black? From my point of view, that is too risky.”

Guardiola, whose side were knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool and Spurs in the past two seasons, said the title meant everything to him.

“To maintain the health and focus of the team, the most important thing is the Premier League,” he said.

“It is the standout competition because it is every weekend. In the Champions League, many things can happen in one or two games.

“We will be closer to achieving in Europe when we have more Premier League titles. That is a nice process and the right process to do at Manchester City.

“If I could have one thing this season, right now, it would definitely be the title.”

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