Guardiola stays coy as Man.City aim to advance quadruple bid - GulfToday

Guardiola stays coy as Man.City aim to advance quadruple bid

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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have already won the League Cup, beating Chelsea in last month’s final. Reuters

swansea : Pep Guardiola remains coy about Manchester City’s chances of winning the quadruple, but his side face Swansea in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday standing just 16 games away from a clean sweep of all four major trophies.

Guardiola’s team moved closer to the unprecedented silverware haul on Tuesday as they advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals with a 7-0 demolition of Schalke in the last 16, second leg.

City have already won the League Cup, beating Chelsea in last month’s final, but that has not quenched Guardiola’s thirst for more success.

A victory at second-tier Swansea would see City move into the FA Cup semi-finals, with the Premier League title race set to go down to the wire.

City are one point clear of second-placed Liverpool and although the reigning champions would be knocked off top spot if the Reds win at Fulham on Sunday, they will have a game in hand.

In a bid to keep the pressure off his players, Guardiola has tried to talk down the possibility of City winning all four trophies, something that no team in the history of the English game has managed.

“I said so many times, and I know you are generous and thank you so much guys, but every time you make that comment we lose a competition, so I think you provoke me in that way so, the next one we will see,” joked Guardiola recently when asked about the prospect of a quadruple.

Swansea, currently mid-table in the Championship, are not expected to pose a major threat to City, but sterner tests lie in wait in what promises to a be a dramatic finale to the season.

The Champions League has provided some painful moments for Guardiola, who won the tournament twice as Barcelona boss but has not lifted the trophy since 2011.

Yet with English clubs constituting half of the eight teams in the Champions League quarter-finals, there are few opponents remaining who can intimidate City, especially with traditional powers such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich having already exited the competition.

Even so, given the magnitude of the achievement City are chasing, the hype surrounding his team at present appears muted.

The last -- and, so far, only -- English club to win the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League was Manchester United under Alex Ferguson in 1999.

Guardiola himself achieved the equivalent in Spain with Barcelona in 2008-09.

Yet, Guardiola has done such a good job of playing down expectations in almost every scenario in which City have found themselves this season that the issue of a possible quadruple has barely been on the news agenda.

On the occasions that he has been asked about such a possibility, Guardiola has claimed that, to be considered among Europe’s elite, City first have to ensure they are regularly competing in the latter stages of the big competitions.

Meanwhile, Riding the crest of a wave after their superb victory over Bayern Munich, Liverpool have the perfect opportunity to edge back in front in a titanic Premier League title race at struggling Fulham on Sunday.

With leaders Manchester City continuing their audacious pursuit of a quadruple the previous day in the FA Cup quarter-final, Liverpool have the chance to sneak two points clear of Pep Guardiola’s side with victory at Craven Cottage.

Agence France-Presse

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Team Emirates’ Pogacar claims podium finish

A monumental final push in the UAE heat from Tadej Pogacar wasn’t enough to take the win in the third stage of the team’s home country as Adam Yates...


The 184km Emirates Stage finished with an exhausting 10.8km climb as Yates launched a surprisingly early attack with 6km to go. Pogacar didn’t react to Yates’ initial acceleration but then ripped clear of the chasing group with 5km remaining, finishing second in the stage, claiming the young rider’s jersey and ending the day second in the GC in a successful day for the team.

Pogacar said “It was extremely hot today, so for me on a climb like that in those temperatures it was a really good ride and I’m pleased.

“There is still three stages with another big mountain stage and the chance of crosswinds tomorrow so it’s not over yet. We have a strong team here so will try something for sure.”

Pogacar will get another chance to claim back the one minute GC deficit as the fifth stage of the Tour finishes at the same Jebel Hafeet summit.

Pogacar will wear the white young rider’s jersey in Wednesday’s stage as the race sees the riders return to the flats which will come as welcome relief for the sprinters.

The Emirates NBD Stage starts from Zabeel Park, crosses Mushrif Park and Motor City before finishing at Dubai City Walk where the popular walkway has been transformed as part of the racing route.

British climber Yates pulverised the opposition on the tough, final ascent of stage, winning by over a minute and taking the overall race lead.

His compatriot Chris Froome was dropped early in the race.

The four-time Tour de France winner again struggled on his comeback from injuries sustained last May.

The 27-year-old Yates is also making his 2020 debut and looks favourite to win in a competitive field after his stunning attack from 6km out at the end of a warm day with temperatures passing 30C.

“I attacked maybe a little too early, but in the end I felt good,” said Yates, whose win gives him a 1min 07sec lead in the overall.

“A minute is a lot, but we have to do this climb again, and maybe my legs won’t be so good then,” Yates said in reference to stage five.

“Also tomorrow I heard a rumour there are going to be crosswinds, so we’ll see.”

Yates was followed up the final 10.6km Jebell Hafeet climb at a 7 per cent gradient by a trio of challengers with Slovenian prodigy Pogacar finishing 1min 03sec adrift.

Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko was third at 1min 30sec accompanied by up-and-coming Frenchman David Gaudu.

Yates came fourth at the 2016 Tour de France and is targeting the Grand Boucle this summer where he will lead the Australian team ahead of his brother Simon.

Wednesday’s flat stage, the fourth of seven, is a 173km run to Dubai City Walk where a mass bunch sprint is expected.





Stage 3 Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 4h42’34”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:03

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:30

General Classification Results

1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott 12h30’02”

2. Tadej Pogacar (SLO) UAE Team Emirates +1:07

3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +1:35

21 hours ago