Man City's Guardiola charged by UEFA after Champions League elimination game

But they crashed out at the quarter-final stage on Tuesday at the hands of Premier League rivals Liverpool, who sailed through to the semis 5-1 on aggregate.

It has plummeted to alarming depths since leaving Catalonia. Just like a throw in or corner kick, being played in by an opposition player, negates all the above.

Barca have been extremely good defensively this season, but there was absolutely no sign of that solidity on this occasion as Roma followed a fairly straightforward game-plan - get the ball wide and deliver deep crosses to expose the lack of height of full-backs Nelson Semedo and Jordi Alba - and the visitors simply had no answers.

In all probability only Guardiola himself is worried about that; because he believes he is judged more harshly than other managers in England he set himself the task of proving all the critics wrong. Yet the side didn't miss a beat.

Guardiola was brought to the club last season to transform City into contenders for the European title.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola sits in the stands during the team's game against Liverpool on Tuesday.

It is a decent follow-up to the Carabao Cup, the first trophy Guardiola bagged in English football when they put away Arsenal 3-0 at Wembley in February. Playing rigidly to principle is his greatest weakness.

On target in six of his last seven home games against the Reds, the 29-year-old offers solid value at 7/2 (4.50) with bet365 in the first goalscorer market, as well as 8/11 (1.73) to merely add to his 30-goal haul this campaign.

Leroy Sane
GETTYLeroy Sane had a goal ruled out for offside

Even Guardiola has just admitted the Premier League is demanding.

He now finds himself cast more as Jose Mourinho's equal in that respect, more so than his opposite number's antithesis.

But after two early exits you have to wonder how many more seasons of European failures will be allowed by owner Sheikh Mansour.

What he did best at Barca was driven by an additional first-love motivation which cannot be replicated elsewhere.

One of Alex Ferguson's key principles for success was a continued emphasis on evolution.

However, Guardiola too must now face up to repetition of adverse Champions League results in the spring as a pattern rather than mere coincidence.

Changing City's attitude towards the Champions League is no longer their overriding problem.

  • Gilberto Valderrama