Football: Not winning title not a disaster, says Guardiola

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Stoke on Dec 31, 2016.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Stoke on Dec 31, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

(AFP) - Pep Guardiola does not believe his first season as Manchester City manager should be classed as a failure if he cannot guide the team to Premier League glory.

Guardiola won the league in his first seasons at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but his City side lie 10 points below leaders Chelsea and in fifth place after Saturday (Dec 31)'s 0-1 loss to Liverpool.

"We have put a lot of stress about, 'Oh, if you don't win the Premier League, that is going to be not a good season'," he told reporters after the New Year's Eve defeat at Anfield.

"No, in that situation we're going to analyse what happened at the end of the season, what was good, what was bad. Now it's just focus on the next game against Burnley."

Chelsea have surged clear at the summit on the back of a 13-game winning streak, but Guardiola does not believe their points advantage is insurmountable.

"I was one time nine points (behind) with Barcelona, against Real Madrid I think," said the Spaniard, whose side host Burnley on Monday.

"It was in February or in March and after we recover until (the gap was only) four (when Madrid won the league in 2012).

"But the question is, are we able to take the gap to Chelsea? Now what we have to do is believe in the next game.

"We need a little bit more time. But I'm a guy who's so optimistic and we are going to try."