Pep Guardiola says Manchester City must improve

Sergio Agüero available for Champions League clash

Pep Guardiola

has claimed

Manchester City

cannot win either the

Champions League

or

Premier League

unless they improve.

The manager of the Premier League leaders made the statement despite Saturday's 2-1 derby defeat of Manchester United, which gave City a fourth win from four league outings and which makes them the only side with a 100 per cent record.

Guardiola’s team have registered 17 goals in all competitions and were without main striker Sergio Agüero for Saturday’s victory in the 172nd derby.

Agüero is available for City’s clash with Borussia Monchengladbach tonight as his domestic suspension does not apply to the Champions League group stage opener, but Guardiola said: “To take it to the next level we have to improve a lot of things. Now, after four games in the Premier League, I would like to tell our fans that the way we have played up until now will not be good enough to win the title.

"So we have to improve to win the Premier League. Of course, we are happy with the results and the way we are playing after two months. But it is not enough to win the Premier League or the bigger target of the Champions League. We have to improve. All the teams have to improve, especially for the managers who are new – like United, like us, like Chelsea. "

Further errors

City beat United despite a shaky display from their goalkeeper

Claudio Bravo

, who gifted Zlatan Ibrahimovic a goal and on occasions was unsure when using his feet. The latter tactic is a key component of Guardiola’s approach, yet he accepts Bravo and the number two goalkeeper,

Willy Caballero

, will make further errors in the future.

“He [Bravo] is so strong. I saw the game [again] to see which things we made good and which things we have to improve. I saw the goal and after that he showed huge personality,” the Catalan said. “That is what I try to say after the game. I am going to tell you something. Claudio Bravo and Willy Caballero – they are going to make mistakes in the future and they are not going to save all the goals and opponents are going to score goals. I am pretty sure of that.”

Raheem Sterling is also clear that some of the negativity he received during last term's uneven campaign was undeserved. "I got a lot of criticism last year which I thought was a bit unfair," the 21-year-old said. "There were a few games where I made my mark in the Champions League, where I had never scored. I equalled my best scoring season, with 11.

“Pep coming in was a massive help and him ringing me was a massive boost. He said he always liked my football and that helped me come back a lot stronger.”

Blocking out criticism

Sterling is now better at blocking out criticism, having previously called himself The Hated One on his Instagram account following abuse he got after England’s 1-1 draw with Russia in Euro 2016. “I simply play football and don’t listen. You take a stroll and you look at the app on your phone. Now I don’t pay any attention. I simply leave it alone,” he said.

Guardiola's appointment has brought high hopes City can achieve great things in the Champions League with the 45-year-old having reached the semi-final stage in the last seven seasons with either Barcelona or Bayern Munich.

On two of those occasions, both at Barcelona, he went on to win the trophy but he points out he is not a miracle worker. Last season’s run to the last four was Manchester City’s best effort in only five previous attempts.

“For the people asking me to win the Champions League here now, at Manchester City – I really have to be a good coach. I will try but the history is the history,” he said. “I never, when I start the season, say when I win the Premier League or don’t, or win the Champions League or don’t, how I will be judged. I try to do my best.”

Guardiola has now turned his attention to the Champions League and the visit of Monchengladbach. In a group which includes favourites Barcelona, City are keen to get off to a good start. “They are a brave team, brave coach – one of the best teams in Europe. They have a lot of quality. The draw was difficult for us.” Guardian Service