Tuesday, February 25, 2020 | ePaper

Guardiola relentless as Man City's financial muscle pounds rivals into the ground

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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.
The Catalan has set new standards for City and English football, but remains hungry for more improvements next season.
"We won the Premier League for one point, so we are not so far away (from the competition) to be relaxed," added Guardiola.
"Liverpool show us how tough will be the future. This is the standards, the level we are going to face."
The fact City do not seem content not only spells danger for the competition, but arguably for the health of the English game at large.
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.

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