Man City must win Champions League to be 'big club' says Pep Guardiola before Inter final

Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City will only be a “big club” if they win their Champions League final clash against Inter Milan this weekend. Victory would not only complete the treble to join Manchester United as only the second English team to land Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in one season.

But it would confirm City’s place as a “big club” amongst the elite in Europe according to Guardiola. “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,” he said.

“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.”

Guardiola added: “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.”

The Catalan says Inter will carry all the history into the final but has warned them it counts for nothing. City go for the treble against a club with a rich European heritage, three times winners and with their own treble already in the bag from 2009-10.

But Guardiola insisted Saturday’s showdown will be decided not on previous success or failure but on who plays best on the night. “We're going to try to do our best and we know the final is how you behave in that specific 95 minutes, not history,” said Guardiola.

“For history, they are better than us. It is about what you have to do to be better than the opponent in 95 minutes. It doesn't count what you have done in the group stages or the Premier League or the FA Cup. We have to be better than them.”

Inter won back-to-back European Cups in 1964-65 and again in 2010 as part of a treble while City’s single final appearance, in 2021, ended in defeat against Chelsea. Guardiola insisted this time City will carry both form and confidence into their final game of the season.

“I cannot deny the quality of the opponent but we are confident, I'm so optimistic,” he said. Guardiola has also held his hands up to making mistakes which contributed to defeat against Chelsea in the final two years ago.

But the City manager maintained he is confident that his treble-chasing outfit are a different side going into Saturday’s shot at redemption. Guardiola conceded defeat in the 2021 final against Chelsea in Porto was always likely to be laid at his door after going into the clash without a defensive midfielder.

For all that he maintains to this day he had his reasons for doing so it was the first time in 50 matches he had gone without either of the two starting. A perfectionist like Guardiola still feels the bruises from that high-wire fall but with a settled side this season and his starting XI inked in assuming Kyle Walker passes a fitness test, it is not about to happen again.

More importantly, Guardiola insisted City are coming at this contest from a position of form and strength totally different from the feeling two years ago. Asked what is different this time round, Guardiola said: “One week ago we won the FA Cup but in that moment two years ago we were just preparing a final and we'd lost two times against Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea and had some doubts.

“It is not the same but both Chelsea and Inter play five in the back, the approach was defensive, too. It is not similar but there are some things. Hopefully we can attack a little bit better. We 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. But we are there again this year and will try to give our best.”

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