Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
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Guardiola believes Champions League getting ‘tougher’ to win

Pep Guardiola believes the UEFA Champions League is getting ‘tougher’ to win as Manchester City look to defend their crown this season.

The European champions host Copenhagen in the second leg of their last-16 tie on Wednesday evening, holding a 3-1 advantage from the first leg in Denmark.

 

City have won all seven fixtures in European competition this season and are looking to become just the second team, after Real Madrid, to defend the trophy in the Champions League era.

Guardiola, however, has discussed the size of that task and believes the Champions League is getting harder to win with each season.

“Getting better and tougher. I had the feeling when I arrived at Barcelona: ‘OK we will arrive in the semi-finals”. Now to reach semi-finals is so difficult,” he said at his pre-match press conference.

 

“Teams are better and managers are better. Everything is more difficult than when I was a football player. But at the end the better teams always go through.”

Guardiola guided Manchester City to the treble last season, his second continental treble after leading Barcelona to La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League success in 2008/09.

Asked whether it was a bigger achievement to win the Champions League with City, Guardiola said: “No, I wouldn’t say that, otherwise I undermine what we achieved in Barcelona. I am not saying: ‘That prize is better than the previous ones’. Every moment is every moment. What I think when I was at Barcelona or Bayern Munich every title you win is different. It’s not for granted. Every step you do is so complicated and you need to be there in the right moment.”

Guardiola insists he is not underestimating Copenhagen ahead of the return, despite a comfortable first-leg win over the Danish champions. Asked on Copenhagen’s strengths, the Spaniard said: “The way they defend. They are really well organised. Always I am aware of all of the opposition players, especially for our players and what they have to do. We struggled last season to win there.

 

“We play a really good team when you consider what happened for them against Manchester United and Galatasaray. How difficult it was for Bayern Munich in Copenhagen. I know perfectly their strengths and qualities perfectly because they have two years in a row with the same manager. They have pace in the transition. But especially what I like a lot they way they defend and are compact.”

Read – Guardiola admits pressure off Man City after Champions League win

See more – Four talking points ahead of the Champions League action

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