Men's Team

Guardiola excited by season finale

Pep Guardiola says he is excited by the prospect of fighting for three trophies in the final two months of the season.

But he believes talk of City winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble should be kept on ice for now.

Sunday’s 4-1 win away at Southampton sealed our place in the FA Cup semi-final and a tie against Liverpool, two days after we learned Atletico Madrid would be our Champions League quarter-final opponents.

We are also top of the Premier League table, one point ahead of Liverpool.

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The final international break of the season starts now, before a frantic final eight weeks that will see the major honours decided.

Guardiola believes the players need a break but says it’s a privilege to be involved in three major competitions at this stage of the campaign.

“We are there,” he said. “I think everyone needs a little bit of a break. It will be good to see new faces for a while on holiday this week.

“After we come back, we know what we have. We have the quarter-final of the Champions League, we have the Premier League, we have semi-finals of the FA Cup. The nice thing for the team is that fact.

“Arriving in the last weeks of the season we are there fighting for the titles. This is so nice. I would have smiled at the beginning of the season to be in front of you at this stage and to be in this position.

“How many times has it [the treble] happened in this country? Once. It is not easy.

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“Hopefully, the players come back from the national team because it is tough to fight for many things.

“Now we have 15 days off and they’ll arrive two days before they have play Burnley and then it’s Liverpool and Atletico Madrid. Maybe one day UEFA can explain the reason why. It is what it is.

“It [the treble] is far, far away. It’s better to think about Burnley first.”

STRIKE ONE: Raheem Sterling celebrates City's opener with Gabriel Jesus
STRIKE ONE: Raheem Sterling celebrates City's opener with Gabriel Jesus

Meanwhile, Guardiola heaped praise on Raheem Sterling, who once again delivered a fine performance in the win at Southampton.

The England forward showcased his lightening speed and attacking quality as he scored the opener and caused the Southampton backline difficulties thereafter.

Guardiola says his attitude and quality mean the praise he is receiving is justified.

“Raheem deserves the best things,” he said.

“I said many times, what we have done these seasons would not have been possible without him.

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“He is an important player but right now I have never had this amount of quality, the huge talent I have up front, in the six seasons [as City manager].

“Even Gabriel [Jesus]. He is a top player, made an assist and won the penalty. But sometimes I don’t select him.

“I am glad Sterling played really well. He was so aggressive in the final third, always created things. I am very pleased for him.”

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