Pep Guardiola says he may be sacked as Manchester City manager if his side are knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid.
Although effectively having lost their Premier League crown to runaway leaders Liverpool, City are still in the Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
But their league form has increased the pressure on Guardiola to deliver the Champions League – a key trophy that continues to elude City’s ambitious owners – and he says another failed European campaign could cost him his job.
City face Real in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie at the Bernabeu on Wednesday week, with the return on March 17.
“I want to win the Champions League. I dream and will enjoy the games against Real Madrid, to see what I can do,” he said.
Pleasure “If we don’t beat them, then the chairman (Khaldoon Al-Mubarak) or the sporting director (Txiki Begiristain), will come 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’.”
Despite reports there is a break clause in Guardiola’s deal that would allow him to leave City this summer, the manager has repeatedly insisted he will see out his contract, which runs until June 2021, and has dismissed talk of a move to Juventus.
Mauricio Pochettino, the former Tottenham manager, has been touted as a potential successor, as well as being heavily linked with the Manchester United job. But Guardiola is adamant that the only way he will depart City before next season is if he is sacked.
City’s best Champions League finish came in Manuel Pellegrini’s final season, 2015-’16, when they lost to Real Madrid in the semi-finals.