Football: Pep Guardiola seeks trophies for Manchester City to join league of big clubs

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola refuses to countenance the possibility that City can win all four competitions.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola refuses to countenance the possibility that City can win all four competitions. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City must match Manchester United and Liverpool by winning trophies in order to become one of the game's giants.

The runaway Premier League leaders maintained their relentless charge in four competitions by reaching the FA Cup fourth round at Burnley's expense on Saturday.

They now seek a place in the League Cup final as they host Championship side Bristol City in the first leg of their semi-final today.

"A win helps to win more, then we are there, going to go to London to play the final," said the City manager, who is eyeing his first Wembley final at the club.

"It's important (to win trophies). To become a big club like the teams I have faced, or teams like (Manchester) United or Liverpool, with a really big history, you have to win.

"Nobody can take away what we have lifted so far - the pleasures from this team of the last three or four months, they belong to us.

"When you live in good moments, I say to the players, 'Enjoy it'. It is so complicated it may not happen again. But, of course, to give real value to what we have done so far... you have to lift the titles."

Of all the attributes City have, perhaps the strongest is their mental fortitude, which was clear to see on Saturday after yet another comeback win - 4-1.

It is worth noting that City have won five of the six matches in which they have gone behind this season. Last season, they went behind on 18 occasions, but came back to win only four times.

But Guardiola refuses to countenance the possibility that City can win all four competitions, and he becomes more and more irritated when the idea is put to him.

"From my experience in Barcelona, when we won the triple, in January you cannot talk about it. It is unrealistic," the Spaniard said.

Yet talk of an unprecedented quadruple is rife in the dressing room. Oleksandr Zinchenko, who deputised for Fabian Delph at left-back on Saturday, broke ranks and admitted as much.

"We think about this every single day and every training session," the Ukrainian said. "We can win everything, that's why we are here."

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2018, with the headline 'Guardiola seeks trophies for City to join league of big clubs'. Print Edition | Subscribe