Guardiola praises City’s boys, club hailed as England’s best ever - GulfToday

Guardiola praises City’s boys, club hailed as England’s best ever

Pep-guardiola

Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola (centre) celebrates with the trophy along with club officials after their English FA Cup final victory against Watford on Saturday. Agence France-Presse

Pep Guardiola saluted Manchester City’s history makers after they clinched the domestic treble with a swaggering 6-0 rout of Watford in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Guardiola’s side capped an incredible campaign in fittingly dynamic fashion as Watford were put to the sword by Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus both scoring two apiece with David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne also on target.

Just a week after winning a second successive Premier League crown, City’s record-equalling FA Cup final victory made them the first English club to win the English title, FA Cup and League Cup in the same season.

They are the first English top-flight side to register 50 wins in all competitions in a single season.

Guardiola’s men also scored a record 169 goals in 61 games this season, beating their own previous best of 156.

City now rank high on the list of the greatest English teams of all time and Guardiola admitted it was remarkable to watch his side scale such heights.

“It was an incredible final for us and we have finished an incredible year. To all the people at the club a big congratulations, especially the players because they are the reason why we have won these titles,” he told the BBC.

Although City finished as emphatic winners, the final could have been different if Watford had capitalised on a lively opening at Wembley.

Crucially, the Hornets wasted a golden chance in the 11th minute when Roberto Pereyra ran clear, only to see his shot saved by Ederson.

Guardiola agreed that Ederson’s save was a turning point.

“In the final these kind of things make the difference. Ederson saved us at a key point at the beginning of the game, because 1-0 would have been really difficult for us,” he said.

City have now lifted five of the past major six domestic trophies available.

As Guardiola watched his players cavort joyously around the pitch after the final whistle, the Spaniard was asked if City could top their astonishing run over the last two years.

Guardiola admitted last week that he is addicted to winning and, ominously for City’s rivals, he made it clear he expects his stars to be even better next term.

“We have to, always you can improve. There is no sense to stay still,” he said.

City captain Vincent Kompany was quick to pay tribute to Guardiola for his ability to hold his squad to a high standard.

“It starts with the manager, who set the standard at the start of the season and said we had to go back-to-back (as title winners), and then it’s the group,” Kompany said

“It’s the best team in the world. To set such a high standard for such a long period, for two years running. What a team, what a privilege!”

Manchester City’s treble winners have been hailed as English football’s greatest ever team. Only a select few can claim to be on a par with City, an elite group that includes Arsenal’s 2004 ‘Invincibles’, Manchester United’s 1999 vintage, who won the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup, and the Liverpool team of 1984, who lifted the old First Division, the European Cup and the League Cup.

The world’s media were united in their praise for Guardiola’s men, who have won five of the last six domestic trophies.

BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty wrote: “The club once loftily dismissed as ‘noisy neighbours’ by then-Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed they now exert a domestic dominance that speaks eloquently on their behalf with a crushing, brutal 6-0 dismissal of Watford.

“This may have been a victory lap completed with embarrassing ease, with early Watford body blows parried in comfort before a form of footballing torture ensued, but this was arguably the greatest day in City’s history as this treble was won ruthlessly, spectacularly.”

Eurosport labelled City as the country’s greatest ever, writing: “They may not have won the Champions League but the cold hard facts don’t lie: Manchester City are the best team to ever grace English football.”

The Guardian’s Barney Ronay summed up City’s majestic form over the last year.

“Manchester City’s historic FA Cup final win was almost swamped by the glowing list of statistics piling up around them – but nothing can disguise the scale of this achievement and the brilliance of Pep Guardiola’s team,” he wrote.

“Welcome to the new order. Domestic games: played 51, won 43. Domestic trophies: three out of three. Five-goal hauls: 11. Defeats since Christmas: one.

“Scan the history books, fan back to the big city clubs of Victorian times, linger on the red-shirted eras of the last 50 years.

“English domestic football has never seen anything quite like this single-season hit from Manchester City. It turns out we really do all live in a sky blue world now.”

Agence France-Presse

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