Pep Guardiola accepts Manchester City may need to conquer Europe to earn the wider recognition he feels they deserve.
City face a potentially season-defining six days in the coming week as they do battle with title rivals Liverpool twice either side of their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Atletico Madrid.
The first of those games, which sees Liverpool visit the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday, is attracting the most hype.
Champions City go into the highly-anticipated fixture holding a one-point lead at the top of the table and victory would put them firmly in command in their quest for a fourth title in five years.
Yet for all their domestic supremacy in recent years, City are still to triumph in Europe.
“We feel all together, inside, we will remember this period with great satisfaction for what we have done,” said Guardiola, whose side were beaten Champions League finalists last season.
“Sometimes (people say) we have to get the proof from outside to be happy inside. That’s stupid. There’s no sense in always looking for proof from outside that what you are doing is right.
“But I agree with people that say, ‘You didn’t win the Champions League’ (because) maybe to have this recognition from everyone in the world outside you do have to conquer Europe.
“If it’s going to happen I don’t know but I think, so far, what we have done here we are incredibly happy with. We did many good things.”
City beat Atletico 1-0 in the first leg of their tie on Tuesday and now turn their immediate attention to Liverpool. They then travel to the Spanish capital on Wednesday before facing Liverpool again in the FA Cup semi-finals next Saturday.
It is an intense spell that could make or break treble-chasing City’s season.
Guardiola is used to the pressure and the schedule has drawn comparisons to a run he faced as Barcelona manager in 2011. On that occasion Barca had to face bitter rivals Real Madrid four times in three different competitions in the space of 17 days at the business end of the season.
It was a period when Guardiola’s rivalry with Real boss Jose Mourinho was at its most rancorous and the City manager admits, as he prepares to face Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, things are more relaxed this time around.
He said: “It (the period) is quite similar but it’s more calm here. This is the best country in the world to be a manager.
“How people respect the football managers here is not comparable to other countries.
“There (Spain), the media was more involved and there are more people from the outside. Here is perfect.
“I have to admit, Barcelona is part of my life. I was a ballboy as a teenager and Barcelona is the club of my heart.
“It is special for me, and I had an incredible four years as manager. I would not change for one second what I lived there.
“But it is different here. It is the best.”
By contrast Guardiola and Klopp have been quite free to each other during their time in England and the City manager feels they share a lot of common ground.
He said: “Maybe in the final third they are more ‘wow’, more powerful for the quality of the players, but from what I see there are many things where we are close, we work quite similarly.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.