Guardiola: City will not win the first quadruple

Published: 19th September 2016 08:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2016 08:48 AM   |  A+A-


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. (AP)

LONDON: Despite his Manchester City side continuing to sweep all before them in imperious fashion, Pep Guardiola has dismissed the suggestion he will win the quadruple in his first season in English football.

The Spaniard claimed the treble of La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey in his first year in charge of Barcelona in 2008-09 and his new club are showing signs of being a similarly dominant force

after a club record eighth successive win at the start of a season against Bournemouth on Saturday.

On Wednesday, City begin their defence of the Capital One Cup - now called the EFL Cup - at Swansea, but Guardiola swore under his breath before giving short shrift to the idea that City can become the first English side to win the quadruple.

"Manchester City arrived in their lives in the Champions League semi-final once, so when the people believe I am going to win the Champions League because I am a really good coach, I don't think so guys," he said.

"So my happiness does not depend on if I am going to win all the titles or not. My target is now to be happy today, drink a little bit of wine, and tomorrow prepare for the game.

"Of course I am going to try to win our League Cup game, there is no doubt about that. And after we are going to see. So my question today is: did the people who came to this game really enjoy it? Yes? Wow, that is enough. To win titles or not we will see. I know how difficult it will be."

Difficult indeed, but when you look at the startling progress made already under Guardiola's stewardship it is far from impossible.

This time last year, City had also won their opening five Premier League games. But that is where the similarities seemingly end.

Under the guidance of Manuel Pellegrini, City soon hit the buffers and suffered three defeats in their next four games. That seems unlikely to happen under Guardiola - who led Barcelona to a 20-game unbeaten run during his first season at the Nou Camp - but he believes that first defeat is just a matter of time.

Guardiola said: "I am not here to say we are about to achieve 20 games in a row without defeat.

"No, believe me, we are going to lose. Hopefully as late as possible. We are a good team, but there are many things we can make better. Of course we are so happy, but it's not enough."

According to Guardiola, City can still improve on their movement and, in the second half against Bournemouth, their high pressing was apparently not good enough. Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth manager, must have wondered what the score might have been if City were at their best.

"They would be the best we have played this season. There's no denying that," admitted Howe. "The speed with which they press made it very difficult for us to get any momentum with the ball.

"Their attacking movement and speed makes it very difficult to keep your structures together."

The pace and precision with which City moved the ball, invariably orchestrated by the outstanding Kevin De Bruyne, was magnificent. And while it must be noted that four of City's five league victims make up the league's bottom quartet, Guardiola's squad is beginning to look like the complete package.

The fact that they won so impressively on Saturday with a side showing no Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva or Sergio Aguero would have been unthinkable 12 months ago.

Only two outfield players added since last season started the game, underlying the quality of the work Guardiola is doing.

De Bruyne put City ahead with an early free-kick, then Raheem Sterling laid on the second for Kelechi Iheanacho to tap in at the end of a wonderfully slick break before half-time. Iheanacho returned the favour for Sterling to scramble home the third before Ilkay Gundogan, on his full debut, wrapped up a near flawless display, marred only by Manuel Nolito's late show of petulance which earned him a red card for thrusting his head towards Adam Smith. By the time he returns from a three-match ban, City may have equalled the club's best ever winning run of 11 games.

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