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Not going far in the Champions League 'will be a failure' - Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola delights in the understanding Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have developed with each other at Man City.
Pep Guardiola expands on Ederson's injury and credits Man City's response following Sadio Mane's red card.

ROTTERDAM -- Manchester City can't use a hectic Premier League schedule as an excuse if they fail to progress in the Champions League, according to manager Pep Guardiola.

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has said the busy domestic calendar makes it difficult to compete in Europe but Guardiola believes City are capable of challenging.

"I'm talking for myself -- I can't speak about the other four teams in the Champions League -- if we don't win or make a good performance it will be a miss, a failure," he told a news conference, when asked about using workload as a potential excuse.

"I know that. I learn it from the beginning. I have to accept it. I can handle that. Hopefully the players can understand."

Guardiola knows what it takes to succeed in Europe, having won the Champions League twice with Barcelona, although he failed to win the competition during three seasons in charge of Bayern Munich.

But he believes his players need to gain belief and experience by playing at the top level in Europe and for their national team.

Pep Guardiola is under pressure to improve Manchester City's performance in the Champions League.

"The step for the English teams and national teams is to do that -- win one or be close and then say: 'OK, wow, we are there,'" he said.

"When I see the English teams they are all able to compete in Europe face-to-face against the best teams in Spain, Italy and Germany.

"The only difference at Barcelona and Bayern Munich is that the players played the Champions League many more times before than the players at Manchester City right now. So that is the only difference."

Defender John Stones was sitting beside his manager at the news conference and Guardiola asked him how many Champions League games he has played to demonstrate his point.

"John, you've played in the Champions League how many times? 10? The players at Barcelona and Bayern Munich have played more than 100, or 80," he added.

"Busquets, Xavi, Messi, Muller, or Philipp Lahm, Xabi Alonso, they played 70 or 80 times, that is the difference.

"I'm not going to say that John does not have the level of Gerard Pique, for example, or Jerome Boateng or the other guys. He has the quality. He's a top player. If not he wouldn't be here. But the only thing is the other players lived that situation many times in the past."

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.

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