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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Man City's Pep Guardiola: Playing well more important than winning titles

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says having his teams play well is more important than winning titles.

In his first season in charge at Manchester, Guardiola will preside over the Etihad club's first trophy-less campaign since 2014-15.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss had won 21 titles in his brief but brilliant managerial career before joining City, including two Champions League crowns, but said on Monday that trophies aren't the ultimate goal.

"The team has played the way I wanted. We didn't play good enough, there were teams that did better," Guardiola said in an exclusive interview with ESPN Brasil.

"In Europe, we still don't have the level to compete. City had gone 35 years without playing in Europe [Champions League]. The club crossed the round of 16 just once. So, we need time to have conditions to compete.

"But the team played, like how we did at Barcelona and Bayern, how I always want my teams to play. It is more important to me than winning a trophy."

At just 20 years old, Brazil No. 9 Gabriel Jesus has been an instant hit since joining Man City from Palmeiras in January, scoring and assisting on eight goals in nine appearances for the club and at one point relegating regular striker Sergio Aguero to the bench.

Manchester City
Pep Guardiola hailed Gabriel Jesus' impact since joining the Etihad club.

However, the talented forward missed nearly 10 weeks of action with a broken foot suffered against Bournemouth in February, leaving Guardiola to lament what could have been this season.

Asked about Gabriel, Guardiola said: "Well, you from Brazil know him better than us. His impact was huge. He has desire, youth, and the mind to become a great player.

"He's Brazil's No. 9. It says everything. It was a pity that he couldn't play before January. We faced five, six months without him. I'm sorry the misfortune of the injury, which hurt us a lot, because it isn't 'either Gabriel or Sergio [Aguero]' They can perfectly play together.

"Certainly, with both of them, we would be stronger."

In 2015, Brazil international right-back Dani Alves revealed Guardiola had expressed his desire to coach the Selecao ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Guardiola has never manager a national team in his career, and said assuming Brazil's reins was unlikely.

"The Brazil national team must be coached by a Brazilian manager, Argentina national team must be coached by an Argentine manager," he said. "People think that because you won with Barcelona you will go to the Brazilian national team.

"Brazil has many good managers and must be coached by them. And I would never got to Brazil to sign a contract. Never. If they said that it would be good to Brazil, it's Brazil's problem.

"But you'll never see me talking seriously to Dani [Alves] or an Argentine: 'I'm going to coach Brazil and we're going to make a show. After drinking a beer, we make this kind of comment. But Brazil must be coached by Brazilians."

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