Pep Guardiola plans a memorable return to Camp Nou

Pep Guardiola has made it clear that his English Premier League side Manchester City must work hard enough to gain reputation as a European force in football.

Guardiola made the comment ahead of the club’s Champions League clash with Barcelona at Camp Nou.

Pep Guardiola takes his Manchester City side to his former club, Barcelona, on Wednesday

Image: Pep Guardiola

“Last season we got to the semifinals so credit to [former manager] Manuel [Pellegrini] for what he did in the past to help the people coming next,” he said.

“We cannot forget that Manchester City was 35 years without competing in Europe [without winning a major trophy until the 2011 FA Cup] — 35 years is a long time.

“You are important in Europe when you are there a lot of times and that is the target for the people who are here now — in the next five, six or seven years to be always there competing against the big clubs as best as possible and as much as possible. That is our target.”

The former Barca coach said it’ll be a memorable outing leading his team against a club that’s more than a family to him.

Pep grew up as a childhood fan of La Blaugranas. He later served the club as a key player and crowned his achievements with the position of a head coach.

The former Bayern Munich coach was once defeated at Camp Nou while on a Champions League campaign with the German club side. A Lionel Messi inspired 3-0 win in a semifinal clash gave Pep a disappointing run in 2015.

However, the 45-year-old coach believes the result will be much different this time.

The Spanish boss was back in familiar surroundings during the pre-match press conference

Image: Pep Guardiola

“It was one and a half years ago when I came here with Bayern Munich. It is always special for me to sit here. This stadium is part of my life,” he said during a pre-match news conference, reported. “I grew up here as a boy and had my football career as a player and a trainer.

“When you travel around you always remember the places and the people you meet. My family is here, that is why I am always happy. Of course it is a good test for us to play against the best team.”

Talking about the achievements at Barcelona since he left the Spanish giants. The coach added: “I don’t miss it — I was so happy here and I miss the people I met here. I was happy working with them, but the club changed the people so most of them I don’t know them. The club remains the same, with a huge history behind it and a huge history in front — a lot of passion from the fans.

“In that moment there was an unbelievable generation of players. It does not matter who was in charge, they were fighters with unbelievable talent. It was part of my life, I closed that chapter, I opened in Munich a new one. And now another new one.”

Manchester City thrashed Borussia Monchengladbach with a 4-0 win in their opening group game but unfortunately hit a low against Celtic who forced them to a 3-3 draw in an away game.

The match against Barca will prove the hardest test for Pep’s men but they are optimistic of a good outing.

The coach said: “I know what they are going to do tomorrow.

“I know what I want to do. We are going to try and after we are going to see if we were able.”