Pep Guardiola believes he could be relieved of his managerial duties at the Etihad Stadium if Manchester City lose against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
City have been unable to maintain their domestic dominance in 2019-20, with Liverpool storming 22 points clear at the top of the Premier League after 25 fixtures.
The Blues look destined to miss out on a third successive title, but they have progressed to another Carabao Cup final, the fifth round of the FA Cup and the knockout stages in Europe’s elite competition.
Guardiola was touted as the man to end City’s wait for Champions League glory when he inherited the managerial reigns at the Etihad in 2016, but he has so far been unable to guide the team further than the quarter-final stage.
The Spaniard – who won the trophy twice while in charge of Barcelona – thinks City’s season will be considered a failure if they are unable to get past Real Madrid in the last 16.
Guardiola says the fact City have never conquered Europe adds to the difficulty of the task at hand, with expectations at the Etihad at an all-time high.
“That’s why it is so difficult to win it. And in 100 and more seasons of history for Manchester City, it was 100 seasons of failure – that is not true,” he told Football Daily.
“There are many incredible players that made our fans happy, and (times when) our fans enjoyed part of the season. I know the people say ‘You are good’ or ‘You’re not good enough.’
“I accept it. I want to win the Champions League, I dream and will enjoy the games against Real Madrid, to see what I can do.
“And this process, the two weeks before, will be the happiest moments of my profession, to imagine what we can do to beat them.
“If we don’t beat them, then the chairman will come, or the sporting director, and say ‘It’s not good enough, we want the Champions League, I’m going to sack you’.
“Then ‘OK, thank you, it was a pleasure.’”
When asked if he genuinely believes his job could be under threat if he doesn’t deliver the Champions League, Guardiola responded: “I don’t know, many times it has happened. Or maybe he will say ‘OK you’ve done well, but what can we improve?’
“Since I arrived, that is what I have got from this club – what can we do, then do it better and do it better. That is the process.
“Liverpool have spent four or five years to win the first title last season. It was a process – new players, the process, then invest more and more, and they are the best team in the world right now.
“Always people believe that you are Pep, or you are Jurgen, or another name, so you have to win all the titles, get two thousand million points, two thousand million goals.
“Sometimes it’s not possible. Sometimes there are opponents, sometimes you cannot do it because in no sport does one team win all the titles all the time. It’s impossible.
“We give a bad, bad message for the new generation, to our kids, to just count the winner, the trophies.
“You said the season would be a disaster, but if we win the Champions League it would be sensational. Why?”
City will take in a trip to Santiago Bernabeu for the first leg of their tie with Madrid on February 26, with the reverse fixture set to take place three weeks later.
The English champions are currently looking ahead to a Premier League meeting with West Ham, which was rescheduled due to the extreme weather caused by ‘Storm Ciara’ last weekend.