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"We'll crack it" | City chairman on latest Champions League failure

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

19:10 24 Aug 2020

Manchester City will "crack" the Champions League, is the message from club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak in the wake of their latest tournament failure.

Just a few weeks after relinquishing the Premier League title to Liverpool, City were dumped out at the quarter-final stages of UEFA's elite competition by Lyon who were seventh in Ligue 1 before the French top-flight season was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The French club, who would go out in the next round to Bayern Munich, beat City 3-1 in the one-leg tie and Al Mubarak admits he took the defeat as badly as team manager Pep Guardiola.

"Me and Pep have something very important in common. We both hate losing and don't take it lightly and I think on this, both of us share the same level of disappointment," Al Mubarak said in an in-house interview on Monday.

"We had a great opportunity this year, the same as the last couple of years. I think when it comes to the Champions League, in a cup competition, it's always challenging because you're playing these stages, quarter-finals, round-of-16 and it boils down to two games. In this case it boiled down to one game given the nature of the Champions League this year and you have to deliver.

"Unfortunately this year we missed it. We're equally upset with that result because we knew it was a great opportunity for us to go to the semi-finals and a great opportunity to actually win this competition. We have to be able to look back at that experience and take the learnings, go back to the drawing board and make sure we're ready next year to give it another shot and go on forward and try to win it."

Winning the European Cup has become something of an obsession for the club and it always has been for Guardiola who delivered the trophy twice to the Camp Nou as Barcelona manager but was thwarted in three attempts as manager of Bayern Munich.

However, Al Mubarak insists that the determination within the club to win the Champions League title will never overshadow their bread and butter of winning matches in the Premier League.

"We've been very consistent on that. The domestic league comes first. That is the foundation for everything. The success in winning the Premier League is what breeds success in every other competition so that is always going to be the foundation," he added.

"We've been very successful in the domestic cup competitions. We have not yet been able to crack the Champions League but we'll crack it. We will crack it. We'll find a way and I have the highest confidence in everyone in our club and our ability to learn and continue to improve."

City were almost eliminated from next season's tournamemt before it had even started but they were successful in their appeal against the two-year ban dished out by UEFA earlier this year.

Al Mubarak is keen to put the whole affair behind them.

"Life is too short to carry grudges. It is one of the most prestigious competitions in the world of sports and it is a competition we want to win and it is a competition we have to respect in order to win," added Mubarak.

"And this was a challenge, it's behind us, end of story. I am focused on one thing: how I can help this club compete in this competition and win it and how to have a constructive relationship with Uefa. I think it's the only way to go."

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Barcelona Champions League Khaldoon Al Mubarak Manchester City Pep Guardiola

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