Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City’s season has not been good enough but he will have no regrets even if they end up in the Europa League.
Defeat in tonight’s Manchester derby would leave Manchester City outside the top four and in danger of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in seven years.
But Guardiola believes that while he has failed to secure a trophy for the first time in his nine years as a manager he is happy with his team’s development.
“If you analyse the season on titles – zero – then it was not good enough,” he said. “It was not what I’d expected. But in other terms I’m quite satisfied with what we have done.
“I tried to introduce the players to the way we play. In many cases we did it but some we were not able. We are one of the teams who have created the most chances, the team who conceded the fewest chances and we are the highest at scoring goals [in all competitions]. But we were not consistent.
“I think we’ll be able to qualify for the Champions League but if we are not able to we are going to adapt and play the Europa League. I am optimistic. I’m so proud of my players and what we are doing and even how we played the last game [the FA Cup semi-final defeat by Arsenal] at Wembley. I don’t have regrets. I don’t have complaints.
“I have been managing for nine years and this is my first year without a trophy. Sometimes it has to happen and it happens now. If I extend my career a lot in the future I am sure it will happen again but there are a lot of big clubs in Europe without a trophy.”
Guardiola will spend big again this summer but he re-assured Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino that Dele Alli is not one of his targets.
“Mauricio has to stay calm – Dele Alli will be his player next season,” he said.
“I am pretty sure about that. We don’t want him. He is a fantastic player, good, new, English footballer. He’s a fighter. He’s good. He’s someone who attacks the box and is one of the most fantastic players I have ever seen in my life. But Manchester City doesn’t want Dele Alli.”
Fit-again Gabriel Jesus will not be risked by Guardiola tonight, David Silva is a major doubt but top scorer Sergio Aguero is fit to play.
Paul Pogba (muscle fatigue) has joined Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo, Juan Mata, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on United’s casualty list.