Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has joked that he could be sacked if his side are eliminated by Real Madrid in the Champions League.
The two clubs – who are among the favourites for this season’s tournament – face off against each other in the Round of 16 of this season’s competition.
City are favourites with the bookmakers despite struggling for form domestically this season – they currently trail Premier League leaders Liverpool by a whopping 22 points.
Guardiola’s side have lost six league games to date this campaign and face a Madrid side who have lost just once in La Liga this season and lead Barcelona by three points at the top of the table.
Furthermore, Los Blancos have lifted Europe’s premier club competition in four of the last six seasons and know how to navigate the tournament better than any other side – Zinedine Zidane has lifted the tournament in each of his previous three seasons in charge.
Conversely, Guardiola has failed to get City beyond the quarter-final stage across three seasons at the helm and he has not won the competition since lifting it with Barcelona in 2011.
“If we don’t beat them, the owner can arrive and say: ‘You’re not good enough, I’m going to fire you,” Guardiola explained, somewhat ironically, as cited by El Mundo Deportivo.
“I don’t know, it’s something that happens often and could happen. He may come and tell me: ‘We have done well, how can we improve?’ It’s what they’ve done since I’m here, trying to improve.
“This year we work even harder than last season, when we won all trophies in England. The players want to play well, they suffer when games are lost.
“People believe that if you are Guardiola or Klopp you have to earn everything every year and that is impossible. Sometimes there are rivals and sometimes you just can’t win. If you don’t win the Champions League, it’s a disaster and if you win it, it’s a success.
“If so, the more than one hundred years of Manchester City would be a disaster and that is not true.
“I am a good Coach, but not the best. Give me a team other than Manchester City and I will not win, we send a wrong message to the new generations if we teach them that only victory matters.”