Pep Guardiola does not believe his first season as Manchester City manager should be classed as a failure if he cannot guide the team to Premier League glory.
Guardiola won the league in his first seasons at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but his City side lie 10 points below leaders Chelsea and in fifth place after Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Liverpool.
He does not see winning the league as the be-all and end-all of City’s season, however, and says he is relishing the new challenge of being the hunter rather than the hunted.
“We have put a lot of stress about, ‘Oh, if you don’t win the Premier League, that is going to be not a good season’,” he told reporters after the New Year’s Eve defeat at Anfield.
“No, in that situation we’re going to analyse what happened at the end of the season, what was good, what was bad. Now it’s just focus on the next game against Burnley.
“I was always on top, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. But OK, this is a new chapter in my career as a manager to handle that and I am willing to try it with these guys.”
Chelsea have surged clear at the summit on the back of a 13-game winning streak, but Guardiola does not believe their points advantage is insurmountable.