Is the great Guardiola right to fear the chop should City flop in Europe?
Pep Guardiola fears he could be axed if Man City don't win the Champions League this season but could such a fate really befall the club's best ever boss?
With Liverpool now out of sight when it comes to the Premier League title race, sitting a whopping 22 points clear of the Citizens, the cup competitions are the best hope of silverware for Guardiola’s side.
City will face Aston Villa in the EFL Cup final on 1 March and are through to the fifth round of the FA Cup as they seek to retain both trophies following their historic domestic treble last season.
However, the one honour the club’s hierarchy really wants is the Champions League, a trophy they haven’t got close to winning in Guardiola’s three years at the club.
Their run to the semi-finals of the 2015-16 edition of Europe’s premier club competition, when Manuel Pellegrini was in the dugout, remains their best showing.
Since Guardiola arrived, City have been eliminated in the last 16 by Monaco before exiting at the quarter-final stage in the last two years at the hands of Liverpool and Tottenham respectively.
They face a tricky last-16 encounter against Real Madrid this year and Guardiola has indicated the outcome of the tie could have a massive bearing on his future in the north-west of England.
Having been fighting for the Premier League title when the Champions League knockout stages have begun in the previous three years, this season’s European campaign has a different feel to it due to Liverpool already having one hand and four fingers on City’s crown.
Guardiola has acknowledged as much, stating he would not be surprised were City to let him leave should he not deliver European glory.
“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,” the former Barcelona boss told Football Daily.
“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’.”
It wouldn’t be the first time Guardiola’s inability to deliver the European cup has cost him his job, having been let go by Bayern Munich after three failed attempts to capture the Champions League.
That decision by Bayern seemed extremely harsh given Guardiola’s team had dominated German football in his three years at the helm, smashing numerous Bundesliga records.
The Bavarians had always been a force to be reckoned with in German football. Guardiola took them to new heights and the same can be said of his time at City.
The Citizens have won trophies under previous managers but never in the kind of manner they have since Guardiola was brought in.
Just a quick glance at his record-breaking achievements at City should be enough to persuade the club’s hierarchy to keep the faith, even if they miss out on the Champions League this season.
Guardiola’s City have collected 198 points over the last two seasons in the Premier League, notching a record 106 goals in their 2017/18 title-winning campaign.
Last December, he broke the record for a manager reaching 100 Premier League wins in the shortest amount of time, needing just 134 games to reach his century.
In the same month, City moved past 500 goals in the Guardiola era, nearly 100 more than any English side has managed since the 49-year-old arrived in Manchester.
How could City possibly part ways with a manager like that? A look at Bayern Munich, who thought the grass might be greener without Guardiola, should tell the Etihad Stadium’s decision-makers all they need to know.
This season has been a difficult one for City in comparison to the last two under Guardiola, but surely he has earned the right to be given a chance to rebuild the squad in the summer and have a fresh crack at Liverpool next season?
The notion of sacking Guardiola based on his European record defies logic, but when has logic ever stopped a football club making a rash decision?
Chris Rivers is an experienced reporter who closely follows both Arsenal and Wales Rugby Union team. As well as in-depth football and rugby knowledge, Chris is an avid American Football, Formula One and boxing fan.