Bayen Munich coach Pep Guardiola believes the absence of Manchester United from this season’s Uefa Champions League serves as a warning to all elite clubs.
United are sitting out of Europe’s biggest club competition for the first time since 1995 after finishing seventh in the English Premier League last season.
The Bavarians, who won the trophy in 2013 and were losing-finalists in 2010 and 2012, have become perennial favourites. They made the semi-finals again last season only to be eliminated by champions Real Madrid.
The Spanish boss however accepts that records can count for little if standards are not maintained in the domestic competitions.
“It is a good lesson for the big clubs if we think we are unbeatable, that we are so strong. Every year we need to make the good things or maybe next season you could be out,” Guardiola replied when asked quizzed on the absent 20-time English champions in a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Group E opener against Manchester City.
“That is why football is magnificent. Every single week you have to be ready. The local competition – the Premier League or the Bundesliga – is the most important because that shows you every week you are ready.”
The German champions are drawn in the same group as the defending Premier League champions for a third time in four seasons.
The Etihad Stadium outfit has yet to reach the Champions League quarter-finals in the past three seasons, when they have either won the Premier League or finished second.
Guardiola believes City are capable of winning the Champions League, having proved they can beat the best in Europe with their victory at the Allianz Arena in the corresponding fixture last season.
He said: “Manchester City won (here) with (Vincent) Kompany, (Yaya) Toure, (David) Silva, (Edin) Dzeko last year – fantastic players.
“They needed to win here to learn something, to learn they are able to win the Champions League. Last season they were able to win the Champions League and this year they are ready to win the Champions League, like eight, nine or 10 teams more who can win this trophy. We would like to be one of those teams. City were a strong team last year. That is why they won the Premier League and deserved to.”
(Materials from the PA was used in this report)