Villa backs Guardiola's Man City for Champions League glory

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David Villa believes Pep Guardiola can lead Manchester City to Champions League success after hailing the Spanish manager.

Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola lifted the trophy twice during his time at Camp Nou, most recently in 2011.

Guardiola failed to go all the way in three seasons with Bayern, however, and has fallen well short in his three full campaigns at the Etihad Stadium.

City were eliminated in the last-16 stage in 2017 and have failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals in the last two years, but Villa is convinced Guardiola can guide them to glory.

"For all the coaches and all the big clubs, it's normal to focus on the Champions League, because it's the best tournament you can play with a club," he told The Mirror.

"Pep is obviously one of the best coaches in the world and obviously the subject of his focus is to win all the trophies.

"Manchester City have never won this trophy, they've been behind in terms of it for many years, so it's normal they have a big obsession with this kind of trophy.

"It's the best tournament you can play as a soccer player, but it's difficult to win for everyone, not just one or two clubs.

"It's very difficult to win, and obviously you need to do a lot of work to win it."

Villa, part of the Barcelona side that won the Champions League under Guardiola eight years ago at Wembley, has not been surprised by his former coach's domestic success in England.

"He's a great coach," Villa said. "I was with him for two fantastic years at Barcelona and he helped me a lot.

"He will have success wherever he goes. He managed in Spain and was successful, the same in Germany, and now in England.

"So wherever he manages, he will be successful, because he's such an amazing coach."

City will be through to the knockout rounds of Europe's showpiece competition if they avoid defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.

Key to their European hopes is the form of England international Raheem Sterling, who Villa labelled a unique type of player.

"He's amazing, a player with qualities that it's difficult to find in any other player," added Villa, who is retiring from football next month after a glittering and trophy-laden career with Barca, Atletico Madrid and Spain.

"He's fast, he's really good in one-on-ones, and this year he's scoring a lot of goals. He's improving year by year, which is the most important thing for a soccer player.

"When you're 18, 19, 20, and playing at the highest level, for teams like Liverpool and City, the most important thing is to get better every year.

"It's important to grow as a player and every year Sterling has done it. You see he's a better player day by day, year by year, and he's still very young."