City target Premier League dynasty
Manchester City are setting their sights on establishing a dynasty in English football and finally conquering Europe after their relentless march to a third Premier League title in seven seasons.
Pep Guardiola’s men were crowned champions on Sunday following Manchester United’s shock defeat at home to bottom-of-the-table West Bromwich Albion.
City have already matched one of the greatest sides of the Premier League era by winning the league with five games to spare to equal Manchester United’s record in 2000/01.
The league points and goals records are also likely to be smashed, but the true test of whether City deserve their status in the list of all-time greats will be what comes next.
“I suppose my teammates will roll their eyes a little bit but I kind of want to see what the reaction is now,” City captain Vincent Kompany, also a title-winner in 2012 and 2014, told Sky Sports. “I have never retained a title so I want to see if this team’s got it to carry on and be even more successful.”
Kompany said he shared that ambition with manager Pep Guardiola, who has now won 23 major trophies in a glittering managerial career that has included successful spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“This is not a dynasty, it is one title we’ve won,” the Belgian said. “We’re still super happy but there’s so much to do before we unlock our full potential.”
It is for this reason that the City squad is so young, according to Kevin de Bruyne.
“It’s no coincidence that the type of players brought in over the past year or two have all been of a similar age and we will look to build as a group together,” De Bruyne pointed out.
Manuel Pellegrini and Roberto Mancini also delivered titles at City but both never sustained success – something Sergio Aguero, who has also won three league titles with City, would like to see happen.
“Now the trick is making sure we kick on again next season and come back even stronger,” the Argentine said.
This season’s title triumph is just the fifth in the club’s history, putting them well behind rivals United, with a record 20 titles, but Guardiola’s side are now the pre-eminent team in the city and in the country.
Seven trophies have been won since Abu Dhabi United Group’s takeover in 2008, but the one trophy they covet above all continues to elude them.
Guardiola’s record-breakers fell short again in the Uefa Champions League, losing 5-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals to Liverpool.
“Sooner or later it’s going to happen,” said Guardiola, who has consistently stated City’s need to grow gradually on the European stage, having made the Champions League semi-finals just once in their history.
Guardiola has taken City back to the pinnacle of the English game. Keeping them there and finally breaking through their Champions League glass ceiling is now the challenge.