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Sunday, 01 August 2021

Man City boss Guardiola quashes Zinchenko quadruple talk

AFP , Monday 15 Mar 2021
Manchester City players
Manchester City's Zinchenko, Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker, and Riyad Mahrez (AFP)
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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola moved quickly to quash talk of a historic quadruple on Monday -- after one of his own players said they were capable of a clean sweep of trophies.

City face Borussia Moenchengladbach in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in Budapest on Tuesday, well placed to progress after winning the first leg 2-0.

The match was switched from the Etihad Stadium to the Puskas Arena, which also hosted the first leg, due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

City look almost certain to win a third Premier League title in four seasons, face Everton in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday and play Tottenham in the final of the League Cup in April.

Defender Oleksandr Zinchenko said at the eve-of-match press conference that he could see "hungry eyes" in the City squad as they chase all four trophies.

"Of course everything is possible," said the Ukrainian. "We have an unbelievable squad, the best players in the world. Definitely, why not?

"Inside the dressing room or inside the team I can see hungry eyes. Everyone is so hungry for the titles. That's what we want."

This was immediately knocked down by Guardiola, who urged the left-back to focus on the job at hand when it was his turn to address the media.

"I am older than Mr Zinchenko," said the City boss. "I have more experience and I am not agreeing with him.

"Zinchenko only has to be worried about a good game tomorrow and going through. This is the only way."

"Four titles has never happened before and I don't think it will happen this season with the situation," he added.

"The only thing to think about is this game and then Everton. I don't know what will happen at the end of the season but normally it does not happen.

"Right now (this City team) is worse than the previous ones because the other ones won a lot and this team hasn't won anything."

Guardiola confirmed Raheem Sterling will travel after being left out of the matchday squad for Saturday's victory at Fulham.

The Catalan manager said he was rotating his players and that the England forward had not needed to tweet in response to internet rumours it had led to a disagreement between the pair.

"Some crazy rumours on socials today... That's absolutely FALSE," Sterling wrote.

Guardiola said in response: "He doesn't need to do it. Nothing happened. He was not selected, that's all."

He added that Sterling had reacted well to his decision, as he would expect.

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