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Manchester City not ready for Champions League success – Guardiola

The Spaniard believes his side’s recent lack of cutting edge will make triumphing in Europe too difficult
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has called on his side to be more clinical and suggested their current form in front of goal means they’re not ready to win the Champions League.

Guardiola’s side have claimed 2-0 wins in their past three games, with Crystal Palace the latest team to succumb to City on Saturday.

While the victory closed the gap on league leaders Liverpool to six points, the Citizens could have won by a greater margin with a number of chances going begging at Selhurst Park.

City boasted 72 per cent possession against Palace and registered 21 shots, with Guardiola not impressed by the fact they could only score twice.

Though eyeing a third straight Premier League title, the club have made no secret of their Champions League ambition – something their manager believes can’t be fulfilled right now.

“The people say about the Champions League, that target. We still are not ready,” Guardiola said.

“We create a lot, don’t concede, but can improve. We’ve scored a lot over the last two seasons and I don’t have doubts about that, but we have to keep going, work on that.

“We missed a lot of chances and also lost a lot of chances in the box [against Palace]. We have to be clinical.”

The Citizens have begun their latest Champions League campaign with consecutive wins and face Atalanta on Tuesday at the Etihad.

City were dramatically knocked out of the competition last season in the quarter-finals against Tottenham as they lost on away goals.

While unhappy with City’s lack of cutting edge on Saturday, Guardiola did praise the fighting spirit of Gabriel Jesus, who started up front in place of Sergio Aguero.

With a new man leading the line, City also deployed an experimental backline against Palace with midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri converted to centre-backs.

“It’s an option – Rodri can play there,” he said. “When we decide to do it we’ll have more midfield players on the pitch and we did it. I don’t know what is going to happen in the future but he convinced me as an alternative.”

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