City tar­get Premier League dy­nasty

The National - News - - ARTS & LIFESTYLE - THE NA­TIONAL

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.

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