Football: Manchester City not carried away by record season

Manchester City chief operating officer Omar Berrada says Pep Guardiola is "the best coach in the world" but the club's success is due to the efforts of a large team of professionals.
Manchester City chief operating officer Omar Berrada says Pep Guardiola is "the best coach in the world" but the club's success is due to the efforts of a large team of professionals.PHOTO: CITY FOOTBALL GROUP

After winning the English Premier League title with stylish football and five games to spare to potentially set records for total goals and points, the question now is whether Manchester City can sustain that level of performance and success to create a dynasty.

Their bitter rivals Manchester United certainly did so during Alex Ferguson's reign from 1986-2013 as he led the club to 38 trophies.

But City's chief operating officer, Omar Berrada, remains grounded despite the thrills manager Pep Guardiola has brought this season.

"We don't think of it in those terms," he told The Straits Times in an e-mail interview, when asked what it would take for City to create a dynasty.

"In the future, we can look back and reflect on what we have achieved, but for now, we have to focus on one season at a time and what we need to do to win, rather than getting too carried away."

Statistics point out that Guardiola masterminded a campaign of record-breaking numbers.

City have scored 102 league goals (and counting) and still have three games left to break the 103-goal record set by Chelsea in 2010.

The league success was also built on their historic 18-game winning run earlier in the season and they have won 30 of 35 games, losing only twice. Currently on 93 points, they are also on course to rewrite the record 95-point haul set by the Jose Mourinho-led Blues in 2005.

TEMPERING EXPECTATIONS

We can reflect on what we have achieved, but for now, we have to focus on one season at a time and what we need to do to win, rather than getting too carried away.

OMAR BERRADA, chief operating officer of Manchester City.

Berrada said: "We will always want to move forward, because we will always expect our competitors to challenge and to strengthen. But we also know that the more this young team plays together, the better they will become, and we have huge belief in this group of players."

While their rivals need a telescope to see City in the domestic standings, continental glory continues to elude them after Liverpool thrashed them 5-1 on aggregate in the Champions League quarter-finals. But Berrada believes the club, who also lifted the League Cup in February, are closing in on European glory.

"In football, sometimes the small margins make all the difference. We don't believe we are far away from being very competitive in the Champions League and of course, we were disappointed not to make more progress this year," he said.

"But we will also learn and be strengthened by that experience and be ready to challenge again."

And he is in no doubt who deserves praise for the glorious football enjoyed by the Etihad crowd.

Berrada said: "We have to give enormous credit to Pep for everything he has done since he joined the club.

"He is the best coach in the world. But he would be the first person to say that it is not just down to him - we have worked hard to create a philosophy and a style of play which runs through all of our teams and to create an environment to succeed at the City Football Academy.

"We are fortunate to have a large team of committed and leading professionals who help us across all aspects of our football preparation. This model is built for a long and sustainable future."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2018, with the headline 'City not carried away by record season'. Print Edition | Subscribe