Belfast Telegraph

Pep refusing to be swept away by talk of quadruple

 

City slickers: Pep Guardiola celebrates with his strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus
City slickers: Pep Guardiola celebrates with his strikers Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus

By Phil Blanche

Pep Guardiola has shunned talk of Manchester City winning an unprecedented quadruple - at least until the end of April if they are still in the hunt for four trophies.

City fought back to claim an FA Cup semi-final spot with a controversial 3-2 win at Swansea on Saturday.

The second and third goals might not have stood had VAR been in operation at the Liberty Stadium, with City awarded a dubious penalty before Sergio Aguero seemed to be in an offside position when heading home the winner.

But the Football Association ruled only Premier League grounds would use the system at the last-eight stage, a decision that Swansea labelled "strange" given that the club possesses the technology to accommodate VAR.

"Ask me at the end of April (about quadruple) and I will answer you," Guardiola said.

"I know for the people it will be a big failure if we don't win three or four titles, so I'm sorry. Now we are going to fight every game after the international break."

City already have the Carabao Cup in the trophy cabinet, are battling Liverpool for the Premier League title and meet Tottenham next month in the quarter-final of the Champions League.

As well as the VAR controversy, the quarter-final tie was marred in the closing moments when a supporter ran on to the pitch from a stand housing home fans and jostled City substitute Oleksandr Zinchenko.

The fan was rugby tackled to the ground by a steward and the incident came on the back of recent similar pitch invasions at Arsenal and Birmingham.

South Wales Police announced after the game that three male youths remained in custody following two separate incidents for encroachment onto the pitch.

"It's happened a few times lately and it's a worry because in the future we could have problems," Guardiola said.

"It's not nice but thankfully nothing happened this time."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has, meanwhile, told his Manchester United players to forget about their FA Cup exit.

Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota scored quickfire second-half goals for Wolves on Saturday to seal a 2-1 win and send them into the last four for the first time since 1998. United have suffered successive defeats after last weekend's 2-0 Premier League reverse at Arsenal, their first in the top flight under Solskjaer.

But the caretaker manager wants his squad to return ready to go again after the international break.

"It is happening so we cannot do anything about it," Solskjaer told mufc.com.

"To the players who go away with international teams, go and enjoy, go and play as well as you can.

"Some of them have been called back into a squad, maybe that gives them a boost, but we just need to come back recharged.

"Whatever you are doing, if you have days off or play with the national team, come back with a big smile, loads of energy and be ready for the league and Champions League."

Jimenez's 15th goal of the season came with 20 minutes left as he turned and fired in low past Sergio Romero, who had earlier turned his header on to the bar.

Jota drilled in six minutes later and United could not recover despite Marcus Rashford's stoppage-time consolation.

Jimenez said: "I'm very proud of the team and where we are. We are like a big family and that's what we want to do, to make history here.

"To keep going and keep doing this type of things and now it's alright.

"I feel very good, playing with a lot of confidence.

"We are family and you see it on the pitch. Together we can do special things and we are looking forward."

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