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Disappointing but positive - Mubarak sums up Guardiola's first campaign

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak insists there are plenty of positives to take from Pep Guardiola's first season in charge, despite failing to win a trophy.

Much was expected from former Barcelona boss Guardiola upon his arrival in the Premier League from Bayern Munich after he claimed 21 trophies in his two previous roles.

City have not challenged for titles in 2016-17, however, their league campaign stuttering at crucial times, while they suffered cup exits at the hands of Arsenal and Manchester United.

Guardiola was eliminated before the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time after Monaco edged a thrilling tie on away goals after a 6-6 draw.

"In a normal circumstance ending the season without a trophy would be a very disappointing season but it's not, it really isn't," Mubarak told the club's official website.

"While I would say not winning the league and not being within close range of winning the title is no doubt a disappointment, not winning either the FA Cup or the League cup is also I think a disappointment.

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"This is not the ambition, not at all. There's nothing to celebrate. I think it's something which is important, it's critical, and I know it requires a lot of hard work, particularly in this league, to be in the top four, but our ambition is to win the league. And if not winning it, to go as close as physically possible to winning the league. 

"We are team now that expects to win every year at least one trophy, and then to go further every year in the Champions League. So from that perspective the season has been a disappointment but if you look at it from a different lens we are truly going in a direction that is positive."

He added: "I am very excited about how we are developing as a team, how Pep has taken the squad and really started a process of going through that natural cycle of development. 

"We've gone through several cycles over the last nine years and we're in the middle of one now but you can see where we're going. I have high confidence that we are going in the right direction. 

"You’ve seen many glimpses of us playing a type of football that is very exciting and very entertaining that I think the fans will grow to love and the results will come, I have no doubts the results will come.

"Pep has introduced a new way of playing for us, an exciting way but a way that requires work and which requires a set of players that I think function within that system and probably If I look back at this season that puzzle wasn't complete and I hope this [close season] we support Pep in competing that puzzle."