Pep Guardiola targets Man City’s next trophy, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Pep Guardiola targets Man City’s next trophy

Manager focuses on defending FA Cup, days after retaining League Cup

After lifting the League Cup at Wembley over the weekend, Manchester City have already turned their focus to defending their FA Cup title, manager Pep Guardiola said yesterday.

City beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Sunday to win their third consecutive League Cup title - Guardiola's eighth trophy with the club since taking over in 2016.

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The Spaniard, who also won 21 trophies with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, said City must have a "big club" mentality of moving on to the next available trophy, ahead of tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) FA Cup fifth-round tie at Sheffield Wednesday.

"I learned at big clubs that when they win a trophy, they go to take a shower and then they think about the next," Guardiola told reporters.

"It's so nice what we have done in the last three years, but tomorrow we have another 'final'.

"Away in the FA Cup is always difficult, for the fact how important this competition is for clubs in England.

"But we can go through to the quarter-finals and that is what we have to do. We have to be focused on that."

City won the domestic treble last season, which included the English Premier League title, but Guardiola accepts it is no longer possible to reel in runaway league leaders Liverpool.

The Reds have suffered only one defeat and one draw in 28 matches to build a 22-point lead over second-placed City, who have a game in hand.

"The gap is what it is," Guardiola said. "After 28 fixtures, the gap is this... because they deserve it.

"No doubts about this. They lost one game, they draw another one, it's because they deserve to be there.

"The league is deserved and it's done. In other competitions, we have won two this season (including the Community Shield).

"Now we have the cup and the Premier League because we have to improve to finish second and get the most points as possible."

City are also still in the running for the Champions League title.

Guardiola's men will take a 2-1 advantage into the second leg of their last-16 tie when they host Real Madrid on March 17.

Guardiola confirmed goalkeeper Claudio Bravo would retain his place in the FA Cup, while striker Sergio Aguero is fit after suffering a knock in the League Cup final at Wembley.

However, winger Leroy Sane is still not fit after missing the last six months with a knee injury.

"No, Leroy is not ready," Guardiola said. "Six months out, it's a process.

"You feel good but confidence... he's doing the normal steps to come back." - REUTERS