A decade and half of unprecedented success at the Etihad Stadium has culminated in a chance for the manager and players to make history and achieve immortality as all roads lead to Wembley on June 3 and to the the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey a week later.
Securing the Premier League title turned out easier than previously expected. But focus must now turn to the FA Cup and the Champions League trophy. Bringing home either should not be expected to be easy.
Despite going into both finals as favourites and having a chance to achieve the incredible, Manchester City must remain humble and focused on the task at hand. The success already achieved in the last decade may have been unexpected, but things are about to get even better.
Playing some of the best football ever seen, City are about to crown it with the treble. Winning is one thing but doing it with such class and finesse will add cherry on the cake.
Going by the team’s performance so far, the biggest obstacle on its way is the team itself. Human beings by their very nature have a tendency to get carried away when things seem too easy or too good.
In football, a team can easily get overconfident and overlook the basics, which could lead to a surprise defeat. Manchester City know this more than anyone. The team has had its fair share of shocking defeats that left many wondering what happened.
The FA Cup final against Wigan in 2014, as well as the 2021 Champions League final defeat to Chelsea easily come to mind. City went into both games as overwhelming favourites to win. Yet the team suffered defeat. The wounds remain fresh in Pep Guardiola’s and City players’ minds from the recent one against Chelsea.
Although the blame for the defeat went to the manager for his team selection, the player’s performance on the day also contributed. Repeating such horrible mistakes would not only resuscitate those painful memories but exacerbate them as well.
Hence, the manager should leave no stone unturned to ensure his players remain laser-focused on completing the job. He must do everything necessary to keep the players on their toes.
His comments ahead the game against Brighton suggest that is the case.
“I think the best way to prepare for the finals is to be ready,” Guardiola said.
“We will have days off and relaxed training sessions but these players have set standards and we have to maintain it. It’s normal to drop because we have played for the Premier League being behind Arsenal, and with the Champions League away in Munich and with Madrid the energy we spent was massive.
“It’s normal to drop once you lift the trophy but we can’t drop much.”
All hands must be on deck at this point, to get the team to the finish line.