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Pep Guardiola on his pedigree, motivation and what it would mean for Manchester City to win the UEFA Champions League – interview

"Life in sports is about trying," says the Man City manager as he looks to shrug off the pressure of winning the club's first UEFA Champions League title.

Pep Guardiola has steered Man City to their second Champions League final
Pep Guardiola has steered Man City to their second Champions League final UEFA via Getty Images

Pep Guardiola is eager to dial down the pressure on his Manchester City side as they prepare for the UEFA Champions League final against Inter. The 52-year-old has won the competition three times with Barcelona – once as a player, twice as coach – but is aiming for his first with City.

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On the final

With our club, I've learnt that overexcitement doesn't suit us. We will travel there to accomplish a dream, [and] we will try to have a good game and win the final. We know we had a chance two years ago; we didn't make it by the narrowest margin last year. We are there again this year and will try to give our best.

We'll approach it as we do for every midweek Premier League match; we'll ensure the players are focused on what they have to do, nothing more than that.

On his Champions League record

[As a coach] I've reached ten Champions League semi-finals, I've played three finals, winning two, and now I'm going to be in my fourth final. [The competition has] given me more than I could have ever imagined. If my life were to end now, I'd have won one as a player in my club, which I love so much, as well as winning two as my club's manager.

Football both gives and takes away from you. Life is full of unfairness, but whatever is unfair for me is fair for Atlético de Madrid, it's also fair for Real Madrid, and it's also fair for Barcelona. That's how the world works. We always want more and more, and that's wrong. You have to be ambitious but not too greedy. This competition has given me very, very sad moments which hurt me, which will always be in my mind, but it also gave me extremely beautiful moments, which will also always be in my mind. That's what life is all about and the way sports work.

On what it would mean for City to win

So many clubs have destroyed projects and ideas because they weren't able to win this competition, and so many have become big clubs because they were able to win it. Even if I don't share this opinion, I understand that everything we have done through all these years, which has been a lot and very good, will make sense to others if we win this competition. If we don't win it, then things will seem to ‘make less sense'. It's a bit unfair, but we must accept it. That's how it is.

We must also accept that if we want to make a definitive step as a big club, we must win in Europe. We have to win the Champions [League]; that's something you can't avoid. But the most important thing is to be there again and again and again. Two years ago, we were there. Two years later, we are here again. We will try, and the most important thing is to be here again in a few years. That's what defines a big club when year after year, you make it to the Champions League fighting in the latest stages, and winning the title.

Guardiola: 'Champions League glory defines a big club'

On what motivates him

Failure doesn't exist in sports. Admitting that you've failed is like saying that your opponent is worthless. If you say that you failed, could it not be that your opponents played well and did well? It's about trying. Life in sports is about trying. And it's about trying again and getting back up again. When you win, you have to celebrate adequately and privately, and when you lose, you can cry a bit and come back the next day. That is sport. You do not fail. When you try, you do not fail.

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