March 6, 2018 / 2:41 PM / 10 months ago

Soccer: Man City not at Barcelona's level yet, says Guardiola

Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester City Press Conference - City Football Academy, Manchester, Britain - March 6, 2018 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the press conference Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said that the Premier League leaders must maintain a lengthy period of dominance in England and Europe in order to be compared with his former club Barcelona.

City have won the League Cup in Guardiola’s second season in charge and are closing in on their first league title under the Spaniard. They are virtually through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League after a 4-0 win over Swiss side Basel in the first leg of their last 16 encounter last month.

Asked ahead of Wednesday’s return fixture at the Etihad Stadium if City were at the same level as La Liga leaders Barca, Guardiola said: “No. It is not good to compare us with them. That team dominated the last 10 years. We just won our first title.”

Guardiola, 47, won 14 trophies in four seasons as a manager with Barcelona, including three league titles and two Champions League crowns.

“To be compared with these teams you have to be there for many, many years. We’ve just won one title,” he added.

City are 16 points clear of second-placed Manchester United in the league and despite needing just four wins from the final nine games to be sure of the title, Guardiola said he would not shift his attention to securing European glory just yet.

“We are so close. I’m not going to say we are not going to win. We’re almost in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and almost champions of the Premier League. But football is not done until it is done.”

Even with a healthy advantage, Guardiola urged caution when his side take on Basel.

“It’s a Champions League game and the Champions League is something special. In football, anything is possible but we have to be calm and focused on what we have to do,” he said.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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