Manchester City still have work to do in the UCL

PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 28: Pep Guardiola, manager of Manchester City is seen during the UEFA Champions League group A soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester City at Parc des Princes in Parisâ, France on September 28, 2021. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Manchester City looks to be challenging across England and Europe, but the continent is no easy task; is it ever?

For a team that has never won the Champions League, the answer is no. For Pep Guardiola, who has won multiple Champions League’s himself, the answer is the same. There are no easy matches in football at this level and no one knows it better than Pep. He has won the Premier League multiple times now and has unfinished business with Manchester City before he departs when his contract expires in a couple years.

Pep has ambitions to coach a national team and is sure to revolutionize whichever team hires him. He will likely face his counterparts like Zinedine Zidane and Jose Mourinho at that level as well —  opportunities that he will relish as much now as three years, or even thirteen years, ago.

Until then, however, Pep wants another Champions League trophy. He wants his City team, the one he has built and tinkered with meticulously, to be great and win in a manner which reflects his footballing mind and philosophy. It is something of an artistic statement for him at this point, and in a game such as this, this is a beautiful thing to witness.

He will have City in the fight in England as he does every year and will be tough for the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool to handle. Not to mention the legion of other outfits who stand little chance as City look to mow down anyone in their path. The problem remains, as it seemingly has for so long, is in the Champions League.

Guardiola and Manchester City: Champions League or bust

Pep often says that winning the Premier League is most important and all other things are secondary or tertiary concerns. One might imagine, however, that while the Premier League is the primary concern, the Champions League comes second.

Over the years, or since Pep took over, has managed to change the game and how it’s perceived. Pep has a way of doing this over and over again and his time with City is little different than his time with Barcelona or Bayern Munich.

In order to seal the deal, a Champions League victory must be achieved. Given the way last year’s tournament ended, losing to Chelsea in the final, this team is even hungrier than before to claim this trophy that has eluded them under their current manager.

Against Lionel Messi and PSG, the French outfit showed City they will have a real tough task of winning the Champions League given the strength of PSG, Bayern Munich and the other Premier League sides.

While City will move on to the next round, how far they go means little unless it ends with them lifting the trophy. While Pep’s innovation has him consistently leading, or amongst the leaders, in England, the rest of Europe has the talent and managers with the tactical nuance to rival that of the Catalan manager.

There are months to go in the Champions League and things can change quickly for Manchester City.  Barring a rash of injuries, they should remain on the right track. They possess plenty of talent, will work on getting even better. The addition of a player like Jack Grealish is only going to add another dimension. For Guardiola, its all a process, and one he works meticulously to perfect.