Be like Oleksandr Zinchenko. Why not? The Manchester City defender may have been admonished by his manager Pep Guardiola when talking up their quadruple chances, but it’s March, and that’s exactly what they should be aiming for given they created this opportunity themselves.
On Tuesday, City took another step towards history when beating Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 on the night and 4-0 on aggregate to reach the Champions League quarter-finals. Sure, not a single piece of silverware has been secured yet, but they are well-placed to win two trophies and capable of adding the other two as well.
Zinchenko can see the desire around him. “Inside the dressing room or inside the team I can see the hungry eyes, everyone is so hungry for the titles and that is what you want,” he said on Monday.
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This period right now I would say is the most important two months in our careers and especially for players like Sergio Agüero and Fernandinho, who have been here around 10 years each: they deserve it so we are going to try. Like Bayern Munich showed last year – they won everything and the other year [2008-09] Barcelona did it as well with Pep and I think everything is possible. We have an unbelievable squad, the best players in the world, definitely, why not?
Jumping in, Guardiola said: “I am older than Mr Zinchenko, I have more experience and I don’t agree with him. The only thing he has to be worried about is trying to do a good game and try to go through. This is the only way. Four titles is a utopia. It never happened before and I think it’s never going to happen.”
It is of course Guardiola’s job to take each game as it comes. He will say that in every press conference from now until the end of time. Five years ago he had been asked about City’s quadruple chances and his somewhat blunt response ended with a word that rhymes with duck. Back then, in September 2016, that question came while the season was still in its infancy.
Now City really can entertain the talk of a quadruple. So what if they fall short? So what if their players have it in their sights? The very fact it remains a possibility in March is remarkable, and if there is any season where this feat could be achieved, it appears this could be the one.
City could well be 14 games away from history.
The League Cup – One Game to Go
The final against Tottenham is at Wembley on April 25. It is a tournament City adore, having won the past three seasons and two more in 2014 and 2016.
Win that, and it’s onto…
The Premier League – Five Games to Go
With eight games remaining City are 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League table, but United can reduce that gap to 11 with their game in hand, which they are set to make up on April 24 when City are in League Cup final action a day later.
Maintaining an 11-point lead would mean City need five more wins to secure the title. Of course, the league is not as simple as that, but it seems inevitable they will win a fifth Premier League since 2012 – most likely securing it in early May.
The FA Cup – Three Games to Go
City will of course have to juggle their league campaign with aiming to progress in the cups as well, and that starts with a FA Cup quarter-final trip to Everton on Saturday. Win at Goodison Park and then they are two games away from winning that trophy for a second time in three years. The final is on May 15.
The Champions League – Five Games to Go
The pièce de resistance, the trophy that has so far eluded Manchester City. They are five games away from changing all that, but then again they have been here before, exiting at the quarter-final stage in each of the past three seasons.
A run to the semis in 2015-16 is as close as they have come, and so it will be all eyes on Friday’s draw to see which team are tasked with ending City’s European dream in the last eight again.
That final is on May 29 in Istanbul.
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