Pep Guardiola dismisses Manchester City's quadruple dreams as 'utopia'

City lead the Premier League, are in the final of the Carabao Cup, quarter-finals of the FA Cup, and face Monchengladbach in the Champions League last-16

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Pep Guardiola has dismissed the idea that Manchester City could do the quadruple as “utopia” and insisted history shows why no English club has won four major trophies in a season before.

The Catalan’s side, who did the only domestic treble a Premier League team has ever managed in 2018/19, are 14 points clear at the top of the table, in the Carabao Cup final and the FA Cup quarter-finals and start the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie with Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday with a 2-0 lead.

But while City left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko spoke of the squad’s hunger and declared “everything is possible” when he considered a potential clean sweep of trophies, Guardiola disagreed, argued it is not and insisted his current team is inferior to their predecessors because they have not yet won silverware this season.

“Four titles is a utopia,” he said. “We know at the end of the season it’s not going to happen. It has not happened before. What we have to do is think about the next game against Borussia Monchengladbach; that’s the only target. I am older than Mr Zinchenko. I have more experience. I do not agree with him.

“Right now, it [the current team] is worse than the previous ones because the previous Manchester City won a lot and this one didn’t win anything. This team still have to prove it.”

Zinchenko had given a more upbeat verdict as he took heart from Bayern Munich’s clean sweep last season and Guardiola’s exploits with Barcelona. He hopes to dedicate an unprecedented haul to captain Fernandinho and record scorer Sergio Aguero, who are both out of contract in the summer and could be in the final weeks of their City careers.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Manchester United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - March 7, 2021 Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko in action with Manchester United's Daniel James Pool via REUTERS/Peter Powell EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details.
Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko, right. AFP

“Bayern Munich showed last year they won everything and the other year Barcelona did it as well with Pep and I think everything is possible,” the Ukrainian said. “We have an unbelievable squad, the best players in the world and definitely, why not?

“Inside the dressing room, I can see the hungry eyes. Everyone is so hungry for the titles and that is what you want. This period right now I would say is the most important two months in our careers and especially for these players like Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho who were here around 10 years each. They deserve it. Sergio is an unbelievable legend. I would want to see him stay as long as he can.”

Aguero scored his first Premier League goal for 417 days in Saturday's 3-0 win over Fulham, City's 23rd victory in 24 games, when the unused substitute Zinchenko was one of a number of regulars who were rested.

Raheem Sterling was not even on the bench but on Sunday, he posted: “Some crazy rumours on socials today... That's absolutely FALSE. Looking forward to a big week with the team.”

And Guardiola refuted reports there was a problem between them as he said the winger would travel to Budapest, where they play what is ostensibly their home game against Borussia.

“He didn’t need to do it,” he said. “Nothing happened. All the players train well and react well. In 40 years, I never found one player who was happy when they don’t play but it is normal, it always happens since football was created. Raheem is so important for us.”

Monchengladbach have slipped to 10th in the Bundesliga after losing their last six games in all competitions while City have not conceded in 616 minutes in the Champions League.

But Guardiola warned: “What we’ve done in the past is good but doesn’t mean it will happen tomorrow. Every game is different. Let’s try to minimise the mistakes.”