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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Pep Guardiola defends Man City spending after Champions League exit

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola defended his spending on players since arriving at the club but said they were not yet ready to win the Champions League after Liverpool knocked them out in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

City, 3-0 down from the first leg at Anfield, scored early on through Gabriel Jesus before Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino struck to secure a 2-1 win on the night for Liverpool.

Guardiola defended a policy that has seen him spend some £450 million since becoming manager in 2016, but indicated that more would be needed.

"It is impossible to do that, to play the way we play, the results we achieved, without top players. It's impossible," he said.

"And today, the top players cost a lot of money. When you say: 'Pep, what you have done in Barcelona or Bayern Munich, is it possible to do that without those big players?' -- it's impossible, so be calm.

"We need money to buy and to play in that level all the time. Only I would say that all the teams around the world -- maybe in two years we spent more -- but over an average of five or 10 years a lot of teams spend a lot of money.

"To achieve these results you need this investment. If not you need miracles, and I am not able to do that."

Pep Guardiola will watch City's first Champions League game from the stands next season.
Pep Guardiola saw City's Champions League hopes ended by Liverpool.

City have all but wrapped up the Premier League title and won the Carabao Cup in February, but Guardiola said they needed to develop further.

"I think we made a step forward in terms of personality to play these kinds of [Champions League] games, like I never said before," he added.

"Right now, I think we are still not ready to win the Champions League but we make a step forward and in that competition there's something special in terms of the quality of opponent and anything can happen."

Meanwhile, Jesus urged his teammates to put their European disappointment behind them and concentrate on wrapping up the title.

"It's heads up," he said. "There are six games to go and we must focus on that, finish the season with the Premier League trophy. It's nearly done but now we need to wrap it up.

"It [the defeat to Liverpool] is difficult to take. It wasn't what we wanted, but this is part of football.

"We didn't play great in the two games, but we congratulate Liverpool."

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