Pep Guardiola’s side failed to win a trophy in his first season in charge but his chairman has now urged the team to challenge both at home and abroad
Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak has claimed that the club must aim to win both the Premier League and the Champions League every season under his ownership.
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Pep Guardiola’s side finished third in the league in 2016-17, 15 points behind eventual champions Chelsea, while they were knocked out of European competition by AS Monaco at the round of 16 stage.
City were also beaten in both the FA Cup and the League Cup – by Arsenal and Manchester United respectively – meaning they ended their first season under Guardiola without a trophy.
Al-Mubarak, however, is remaining optimistic, and believes that the fact that Chelsea had no European football to contend with, having finished 10th last season, ultimately swung the title race in their favour.
“There’s no doubt it’s extremely hard to do the double, because of the nature of the Premier League and the level of competition in the Champions League,” he told Manchester City’s official website. “This is an unbelievably challenging feat to achieve, but nevertheless you would not be in the position I am if you don’t think and believe you can do it.
“The last two champions in the Premier League have won the league without playing in Europe. So that’s shown, in my view, the advantage that that puts for the people who are not competing in Europe.
“But we also have to acknowledge that Leicester was an anomaly, it was for a team with the resources with Leicester City have, is unbelievable for them to win the league, it truly is a remarkable feat. In Chelsea’s case I think with the squad Chelsea has, with the manager, the organisation and the resources that Chelsea has, the anomaly was for them to finish 10th the season before, not that they won the league this year.”
City are embarking on an aggressive summer of recruitment ahead of the 2017-18 season, and have already signed Bernardo Silva from Monaco for a fee of £43 million.
The club are also confident of signing Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal after opening negotiations over a transfer, and are on the verge of signing goalkeeper Ederson for a world-record sum.
With a radical overhaul underway – Kyle Walker of Tottenham and Benjamin Mendy of Monaco are also understood to be targets – Al-Mubarak insists that he is attempting to give Guardiola all of the resources he needs to be successful both at home and abroad.
“Chelsea playing in the league this year without Europe no doubt provided them with an important advantage and that’s helped them win the league, but I don’t take anything away from them,” he added.
“Winning the league is winning the league, and they’ve done an incredible job and my hat is off to Antonio Conte and his squad and the entire management of Chelsea, they’ve done an incredible job this year and the results speak for themselves.
“But nevertheless, the point remains that going into next year, no doubt, teams that are in Europe will have a more challenging experience of winning the league than teams not in Europe but that’s no excuse because, for us, our job is to try to win both the Premier League and the Champions League and to do everything we can to do so and that will remain our objective.”