Pep Guardiola has admitted Manchester City may need to “suffer” in the Champions League group stage to prove they can go all the way and lift the trophy.
City suffered a shock defeat at home to Lyon in their opening group game and take on Hoffenheim tonight needing a win to get their European campaign going.
The Blues qualified with ease from the group stage in the past two seasons under Guardiola, only to fall to Monaco at the last 16 stage in 2017 and in the quarter-finals against Liverpool last season.
And Guardiola suggested the Lyon defeat may ultimately work in City’s favour in toughening them up and sharpening their competitive edge in the group stage, so they are at their best when it comes to the knockout stage.
“The last two seasons I’ve been here we’ve qualified quite comfortably,” said Guardiola.
“Maybe we have to realise how complicated the competition is and suffer in the group stage to make a step forward in the knockout games.
“If we’re not able to do that, it means we’re not good enough and we’ll prepare much better for next season. It’s simple like that.”