Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City stay ‘not dependent’ on European glory

As Pep Guardiola enters his seventh season as Manchester City manager, he says he is fired by the desire to get better each year rather than Champions League glory. City start their Premier League campaign at West Ham on Sunday for what he hopes will end with his fifth Premier League title and the elusive triumph in Europe.

Few could have anticipated Guardiola would stay in east Manchester so long after a four years with Barcelona and another three at Bayern Munich. He has spent the summer refreshing his squad as City aim to maintain the momentum that has rarely dipped during the Spaniard’s tenure.

Related: ‘Once a blue, you’re a blue’: Haaland renews family bonds with City

Asked what still motivates him, he said: “To improve the team and play better. This is the main thing for me. The only thing I’m here for is to make the team play better, and the players individually to play better … to watch the team on the touchline and say: ‘I like it.’”

Guardiola will be keen to ensure Erling Haaland, Julián Álvarez, Kalvin Phillips and Stefan Ortega improve the squad in order to help the club go one step further than two years ago when they lost the Champions League final to Chelsea in 2021. City are hoping to add to their ranks before the end of the window, with a left-back the main target after missing out on Marc Cucurella, who has signed for Chelsea.

Asked whether he would leave if he wins the Champions League with City, Guardiola said: “My life is not dependent on that. Of course I would like to win it. Yes, it’s a dream or a target to do it. I am aware how good the opponents are and how difficult the competition is.

“I have said so many times and so people might not believe me, that I am making an excuse. People say: ‘No, I’m here to win it,’ but I didn’t come here to win the Champions League. They didn’t ask me. Of course they want it and I’m the first to want it but it was the same with Munich. I won it twice with Barcelona. I want to win all four. If I am a manager for 30 or 40 years I want to win the Champions League every season.”