Sunday People


- By Simon Mullock

PEP GUARDIOLA has challenged his Manchester City players to tick off the trophies as they bid for the Treble after winning the Premier League for the third successive season.

Guardiola is one of only six managers to achieve the most glorious of clean sweeps in Europe’s top five leagues.

And he will lean on the experience of leading Barcelona to a La Liga, Champions League and Copa del Rey Treble in his first season as a coach 14 years ago to plot City’s path to immortalit­y.

They face Chelsea at the Etihad today fresh from winning the Premier League after Arsenal lost to Nottingham Forest yesterday – and Guardiola reckons his previous achievemen­t will help the Blues in their bid to beat bitter rivals

Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.

A victory at Wembley on June 3 would then provide the perfect preparatio­n for City’s Champions League Final showdown with Inter Milan in Istanbul seven days later.

Guardiola said: “The first title helps win the second one and the second one helps win the third. The dynamic helps you a lot – the mood helps you a lot.

“I don’t remember much from when we won the Treble with Barcelona. But in that period I said something like, ‘What’s next?’. That I remember perfectly.”

There have been suggestion­s Guardiola will have completed his mission if he can emulate Sir Alex Ferguson’s Class of 99 by winning the lot.

But Guardiola still has two years left on his City contract – and at the age of 52 his appetite for more success is being fed by living in a country that he insists is unique in its love for the game.

Twenty-four hours after watching his team demolish 14-time European champions Real Madrid 4-0, he spent his evening watching Sheffield Wednesday’s remarkable League One play-off semi-final victory over Peterborou­gh.

Guardiola said: “Wednesday were 4-0 down, then 4-0 up, then extra-time and penalties. That can only happen in

England. I can’t imagine I would see that game in Spain or Germany or Italy.

“It was live on Sky and in other countries they don’t do that.

“How many were there, 32,000? Packed full after losing the first leg 4-0 is crazy!

“This is England and it is unique. That is why it is so special and that is why I’ve been here a long time. I love it.”

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