Guardiola targets Man City treble after FA Cup final win

Manchester United’s French defender Raphael Varane (L) and Manchester City’s Norwegian striker Erling Haaland compete during the English FA Cup final football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Wembley stadium, in London, on June 3, 2023. AFP

Pep Guardiola said Manchester City have “one more to go” after moving to the brink of a historic treble by beating Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

City captain Ilkay Gundogan was the hero with both goals, including the fastest ever in a FA Cup final after just 12 seconds.

Guardiola’s men have already secured a third consecutive Premier League title and can equal Manchester United’s unique 1999 treble if they beat Inter Milan in next week’s Champions League final in Istanbul.

But the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss warned his side have to conquer Europe for the first time to be considered among the greatest teams of all time.

“The players know what we have ahead of us,” said Guardiola. “After every hug everyone said: ‘one more to go’.

“We are in a position we will probably never be in again.

“Everybody knows we’ve done incredible seasons, but we have to win the Champions League to be recognised like the team deserve to be recognised.”

A second FA Cup triumph took Guardiola’s total of major trophies in seven seasons in Manchester to 11.

But the Champions League has so far eluded City despite the billions invested since an Abu Dhabi-backed takeover transformed the club’s fortunes 15 years ago.

“What a privilege, we are one game away,” added Guardiola, whose side are huge favourites to beat Inter in Istanbul.

“More than the facts of the treble, (it is) the chance to win the Champions League.

“For me it is remarkable (to reach) two finals of Champions League and one semi-final (in three years), but at the end we have to win it.”

Gundogan’s double could be a parting gift with the German out of contract at the end of the season.

The 32-year-old has been heavily linked with Barcelona, but Guardiola retains hope of convincing his skipper and neighbour to stay.

“He knows what I think (of him). There is no doubt,” said Guardiola.

“We are neighbours, we live in the same floor for many years, he is a close friend of mine but hopefully we can finish in a good way. (City sporting director) Txiki (Begiristain) is working.

“The season he has done is exceptional.”

Gundogan said the City squad are determined not to let a golden opportunity slip by next weekend.

“To win this trophy again and complete the double is amazing for us,” Gundogan said in a City statement issued seconds after the final whistle.

“Our focus now, however, is on resting, recovering and being fully prepared for next weekend’s Champions League final.

“We have a chance to do something special and win the treble and we do not want to let this opportunity pass us by. I can promise our fans we will do everything we can to win in Istanbul.”

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