Winning Champions League would salvage City’s season, says Wright - GulfToday

Winning Champions League would salvage City’s season, says Wright

Pep-Guardiola-750

Pep Guardiola, who won two Champions League titles at Barcelona, failed to take City beyond the quarter-finals of the competition. Reuters

With champions-elect Liverpool looking set for the Premier League coronation, Manchester City should shift their focus to European glory and try to win Champions League to  have another great season, suggested former England player Ian Wright.

With their most recent defeat against Tottenham Hotspur, City have already suffered six losses in the season so far, that is two more than whole of their previous campaign. And they trail the run-away leaders Liverpool by 22 points now.

Wright believes City are in still in the position to salvage their pride by winning the champions League. City will take on Spanish giants Real Madrid in the last sixteen of the Champions League later this month.

“You feel if they don’t win the Champions League then it’s not a good season. But if they do win it, it’s a great season,” Wright said.

“I would start saving players for it because that’s what City have got to start focusing on.”

Pep Guardiola, who won two Champions League titles at Barcelona, failed to take City beyond the quarter-finals of the competition.

“With the team he assembled, we thought it would happen in his tenure,” Wright added.

“He’s three years in with a team that has played at a really high intensity and City have not been able to stay up with a Liverpool side that have kicked on.”

City return to league action on Sunday against 18th-placed West Ham United.

Guardiola refused to criticise his players but said they must do better next season after Manchester City wasted numerous chances, missed a penalty and had Oleksandr Zinchenko sent off in a 2-0 Premier League loss.

The Spaniard took close to an hour to appear for his post-match news conference, prompting talk of a dressing down for his players after a sixth league loss of the season which left them 22 points behind leaders Liverpool.

But Guardiola was giving little away, bemoaning an unusually bad day at the office for his feared strike force that has helped City rack up more than 100 goals in all competitions this season.

“They (Liverpool) are unstoppable with a lot of points...now is the target for the (other) competitions and quality for the Champions League next season,” Guardiola said.

“The distance is so big and next season we have to do better.”

City had 18 goal attempts compared to Tottenham’s three, the hosts taking the lead in the 63rd minute when debutant Steven Bergwijn volleyed home with Jose Mourinho’s side’s first attempt on target.

Despite playing the last 30 minutes with 10 men after Zinchenko’s red card, City enjoyed nearly 70 percent possession overall but Sergio Aguero wasted several good chances and Ilkay Gundogan had a penalty saved by Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris before missing a sitter.

“We are there in the six-yard box and we are not able to score,” Guardiola, whose side have failed to score in consecutive matches for the first time in his reign.

With their hopes of a third successive Premier League title all over bar the shouting, Guardiola said motivation was not a problem for his side. The Champions League, however, is not their priority.

“We played well, but we lost the game. (Spurs) arrived in (the box) twice and scored two goals. I don’t have too many things to say about our performance,” he said.

“We have to accept it and work on that. We need to analyse that. Football is to create chances and concede few. We played to win the game. I didn’t see a lack of desire to win or that we’re far away.”

Spurs’ midfielder Dele Alli said he bears no ill will towards Raheem Sterling after being on the receiving end of a bruising tackle from the Manchester City during their match.

Agencies