‘Easier’ to defend Champions League than win it for first time, says Pep

Pep Guardiola says it will be “easier” for his Manchester City side to defend their Champions League crown than it was to win their first title last season.

City secured the treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League with a 1-0 win over Inter Milan in last season’s final and kick off their new Champions League campaign at home to Crvena zvezda on Tuesday.

And the City boss has urged his players to make even more history by retaining their European title.

“No, it’s easier. It’s more difficult to win the first one,” said Guardiola when asked if it would be more difficult this time around.

“For our club to win the Champions League is incredible, but in perspective, how many won one Champions League? A lot.

“We haven’t done anything special with just one, but we are incredibly proud.”

Defender Kyle Walker, who last week penned a new contract with the club until 2026, says the incentive of winning more European titles was a big factor in his decision to extend his stay.

“I want to stay at this club as long as possible,” he said.

“As they say, they will have to wheel me out. Why would I want to leave the club that has just won the treble?

“I wanted to be settled, not just for me but for my family and now that I am, you are seeing the performances.

“We are at a massive club for a reason and the hunger is still within the changing room for us to keep going. You see the manager and he does not settle for second and we want to follow in his footsteps.

“He drew a diagram at the start of the season and we are climbing the mountain again. To go again and again is what separates good teams from great teams.”

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