Guardiola says Man City's treble season was 'once in a lifetime' achievement

City boss plays down talk of another trophy haul ahead of Premier League opener at Burnley

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, pictured holding the Premier League trophy, the club's fifth in six seasons. PA
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Pep Guardiola claims it will be “almost impossible” for Manchester City to repeat last season’s treble-winning exploits.

City begin the defence of their Premier League crown - their fifth in six years - when they travel to Turf Moor to face Burnley on Friday night.

Given their glittering recent history, they will start as favourites in each and every competition they participate.

Guardiola, however, played down talk of replicating their historic 2022-23 efforts, where they added both the FA Cup and Champions League to their league success.

“It feels like it finished yesterday but we start again,” said the 52-year-old City manager. “I don’t think it will be possible to do what we did last season, it’s once in a lifetime. I said to the players forget about it.

“We climbed the highest mountain last season but we have come down that mountain now. We start from the same as everyone else, with the same intention and there will be a lot of difficulties to climb the mountain again.

“What we have done remains in our hearts and minds but it’s over. The history speaks for itself but it is almost impossible to repeat.”

City have so far made just one major acquisition, with defender Josko Gvardiol joining the club from RB Leipzig. However, with Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan having left the club, they are continually linked with new recruits in midfield and attack - the latest being West Ham's Lucas Paqueta.

But Guardiola said: “I will not answer about Paqueta. He is a West Ham player.”

The City boss also offered no updates on the situation concerning full-back Kyle Walker, who has been linked with Bayern Munich throughout the summer.

“We are wishing he stays but there is no news,” he added.

Another player who has been the subject of speculation is youngster Cole Palmer, who scored City’s goal in their Community Shield loss to Arsenal last weekend.

The 21-year-old is reportedly the subject of a loan bid from West Ham.

Guardiola said: “Cole is with us. Today he is with us. What is going to happen, I don’t know.

“I understand completely that he wants to be more active than the previous season, but Riyad [Mahrez] has gone, so we have one more place there.

“We will see. I cannot say anything because the last decisions belong to the club. The club have to decide what is best.”

Friday’s trip to Burnley will see Guardiola come up against his former captain Vincent Kompany, who has guided the Clarets back to the top flight at the first attempt.

Guardiola said: “Normally the first games are difficult, especially against newly-promoted teams because they have nothing to lose and the energy, the dream to do a good season. Apart from that, Vinny knows us well and he is doing an incredible job.

“He has changed the way Burnley play completely and they destroyed the Championship. It will be a tough, tough game.”

Updated: September 25, 2023, 8:47 AM