Guardiola relentless as Man City’s financial muscle pounds rivals
Sports Live: Pep Guardiola looked on almost embarrassed as Manchester City put Watford to the sword with the biggest winning margin in a FA Cup final for 116 years on Saturday, a 6-0 thrashing that was the final flourish of a season of domestic dominance unlike any England has ever seen.
City claimed a first ever treble of Premier League, FA and League Cups, as well as the Community Shield to take the count of major trophies to 10 in the decade since the club’s fortunes were transformed on and off the pitch by Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.
Guardiola now has 27 trophies in total as a coach, six of them since arriving in England three years ago, to go with 14 in four years at Barcelona and seven in three seasons at Bayern Munich.
One remains missing from his haul at City, the same one that escaped him in Germany. Guardiola’s work at City will not truly be done until he lands the Champions League, like he did twice for Barcelona.
However, Guardiola claimed his side’s relentless consistency across all competitions this season made the unique achievement of the treble even harder than his Champions League wins.
What once was England’s showpiece occasion at Wembley had the feeling of a run of the mill Premier League procession and exposed a chasm between the haves and have-nots that is only becoming greater. Guardiola could afford the luxury of leaving Sergio Aguero on the bench for the full 90 minutes. Kevin de Bruyne only featured for the final 40 and still won man-of-the-match.
Liverpool finished runners-up this season with the third highest in history, while City’s emphatic Cup success came on the day Bayern’s title win in Germany ensured all five top European leagues were retained for the first time ever.
Watford, by contrast, remain without a major trophy in their history. Despite the defiance of their fans as the goals rained in after half-time, the Hornets were helpless given the disparity of resources.
“We did it for the organisation, for Sheikh Mansour, Khaldoon (Al Mubarak) and all the people working here,” said Guardiola, at the end of a week where City’s success on the field has been overshadowed by more questions over the club’s conduct off it.
Dhaka, 19 May (campuslive24.com)//MIH
Such sanctions seem the only way their progress can be halted with Guardiola already planning new arrivals before he tries to win it all again, starting with the Community Shield against Liverpool in August.