“Visualize winning the treble.” Pep Guardiola has instructed his players after reaching the Champions League final. Due to the resounding 4-0 victory over title holder Real Madrid, Manchester City can prepare for the final battle in the billion dollar ball for the second time in three years. The Citizens however, are also still in the running for the league title and winning the FA Cup.
After the 1-1 draw in Santiago Bernabéu, Real was an easy prey for City in the return. At halftime it was already 2-0 and after the final whistle there was a 4-0 final score on the scoreboard. Sporting revenge for Guardiola, as City was eliminated by Real in the semi-finals last season. “We still had that pain in our stomach from last year and we all channeled that today. It gave us energy,” said the Spanish manager afterwards.
Guardiola said City were entitled to more last season. “It was very difficult because then we played similar to today. I remember Toni Kroos said in an interview that they could have lost 10-1 or 10-2 with us. So when we drew Real Marid, I said: ‘ Yes, I want that’. I wanted it because I think everything was there today: the energy we had from being criticized for a year because we would have had no character when we lost.”
City are thus still on course to become the second English club in history to win the treble (after Manchester United in 1998/99). It is four points clear in the Premier League with three games to go, will play the FA Cup final on June 3 and the final battle in the Champions League a week later. “We’re here now and the players can think about it, visualize it,” Guardiola said. “We have to win one more game in the Premier League, then we will meet our neighbors in the cup and we will have the Champions League final against an Italian team. The pleasure of being there and playing against Internazionale is priceless. We are going to enjoy it .”
Despite elimination, Ancelotti does not fear for the future
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti showed himself a worthy loser on Wednesday. The Italian acknowledged to have been the lesser team by far, but is not afraid that the elimination will have consequences for him personally. “No one doubts me. I think the president was very clear recently: this is an opportunity to improve. Next year I will be here to fight for the Champions League again.”