Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola full of praise for his cup kings

Catalan coach says his team's record in domestic competitions should be celebrated

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City remain on target for a repeat of last season's treble after beating Newcastle in the FA Cup on Saturday. PA
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola highlighted his side's outstanding record in cup competitions after they became first team in history to reach six consecutive FA Cup semi-finals.

Two deflected first-half goals from Bernardo Silva secured a 2-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday night and the first of what City hope will be three visits to Wembley before the end of the season as they remain on target for a second consecutive treble.

While eager to play down talk of a repeat, Guardiola was happy to talk up his players' consistency, pointing to their record both in the FA Cup and the League Cup, which they won four times in a row between 2018 and 2021.

“After we won the treble, and five titles, we’re coming to the international break with two months left and to be in contention for all the titles means a lot,” the City boss said.

“I know people talk about the Premier League, the Champions League, but to have won four Carabao Cups and [reach] six FA Cup semi-finals in a row, this team, this club, has something special, so it’s incredible.

“Of course we want to win all of them but sometimes this is not possible basically for the quality of the opponents and the schedule we have … but we were there six times in a row.

“Always you can have a bad night or a bad afternoon and to be there six times, you didn’t have a bad night. And for those that doubt the consistency of the team you prove they are wrong.”

City's fast start put Saturday's quarter-final to bed early, with Silva's goals coming in the 13th and 33rd minutes to leave Newcastle with a mountain to climb.

Silva signed a one-year contract extension in September, but while his terms run until 2026, the 29-year-old is constantly linked with Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.

“Everybody loves him,” Guardiola said of Silva. “He is really important for us and that he stays is really, really important.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle manager Eddie Howe insists their season is not over despite the defeat ending hopes of picking up any silverware. Now under Saudi Arabian ownership, Newcastle haven't won a domestic honour for almost 70 years.

Howe, though, says they must regroup and focus on qualifying for Europe. Hampered by a long list of injuries, Newcastle lie 10th in the Premier League going into the international break. But they are still within touch of either Europa League or Europa Conference League qualification.

“We have a responsibility in the final 10 games of the season to build,” Howe said. “Of course we have our targets for the season but we’re always building for the future to make sure we’re the most competitive team we can be.

“There’ll be no negativity from me or the players. We know the importance of representing the club well in every game and in every moment, and I still feel we have a huge amount to play for.

“[European football], absolutely that’s our aim. There’s a huge amount to play for. If people say our season is over, that’s absolute nonsense as far as I’m concerned.

“We’re driving forward to try to get our best form back first and foremost, to try to win as many games as we can and to finish the season in a positive way because I’ve no doubt we’ll take that feeling into next season as well.”

Howe will take those players not on international duty next week to a training camp in Dubai, where he is hoping to see a number of injured players return.

Manchester City 2-0 Newcastle – player ratings

Updated: March 17, 2024, 1:36 PM