The head coach said yesterday that his side are about to embark on the most significant nine days of their season, with today’s FA Cup quarter- final away to Middlesbrough followed by the Champions League round-of-16 second leg in Monaco on Wednesday and a Premier League home match against Liverpool a week tomorrow.
Failure in the two cup matches would leave Guardiola almost certain to finish a season without a trophy for the first time in his managerial career, as City are ten points behind Chelsea, the Premier League leaders.
“If I have no silverware, I will not be here for a long time,” Guardiola said. “Being a manager depends on results but I always believe deep in my heart that results depend on the way you play. That’s why I need to be convinced that we’re playing better every day.
“I know how it was after six, seven months here, together with my periods at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“We will be judged on the results. People analyse the games and what we have done during the season. No silverware, it will not be a good season. I knew that in August.”
Sheikh Mansour, the club’s owner, gave Guardiola his full support when they met in Abu Dhabi last month, and there is no suggestion that the head coach faces the sack if he fails to win a trophy this season. However, Guardiola is aware of the demands for success at City, whose chief executive, Ferran Soriano, set a target of five trophies in five years for Manuel Pellegrini, the previous manager.
Pellegrini won three in three seasons, securing the Premier League title once and the League Cup twice, but it was not enough to save his job.
Guardiola won 14 trophies in four seasons in charge at Barcelona, and a further seven in three years with Bayern Munich. But he suggested that his time in Germany was judged as a “disaster” because he failed to win the Champions League there, even though they were Bundesliga champions in each of his three seasons.
“My period in Munich was judged like a disaster because we were not able to win the Champions League,” he said. “I won three leagues in a row, we won two cups from three, we arrive all the time in the semi-finals and finals, but it was judged a disaster. So I have to handle that.”
Guardiola is expected to name a strong side for today’s match at the Riverside Stadium, and may well decide to field Sergio Agüero in attack, while Raheem Sterling is set to be recalled after being rested for Wednesday’s goalless Premier League draw at home to Stoke City. David Silva, a substitute for that game, is set to return to the starting line-up.
Asked if City were entering their biggest week of the season, Guardiola said: “Definitely. It is an important week. These three games will decide what’s going to happen in the next two months.”