(Reuters) – Manchester City’s victorious players were adamant amidst the celebrations that greeted the completion of their magnificent Premier League triumph on the English south-coast on Sunday that this was still just the infancy of their era of dominance.
After City’s 4-1 win at Brighton & Hove Albion sealed the successful defence of their crown, captain Vincent Kompany and his men already had their eyes on a unique English treble by winning the FA Cup final against Watford next weekend.
Not only that but Pep Guardiola’s insatiable team were already thinking beyond the magnificent 2018-19 campaign and contemplating a third straight English title win next season with the Spaniard having said they will get even better.
Trophy-hunting had now become, explained one of their young luminaries Leroy Sane, like a “kind of addiction… you just want to win it again and again.”
City’s ‘Captain Marvel’ Kompany, whose thunderbolt against Leicester City on Monday for a 1-0 win was critical to their title push, echoed his team’s feelings, saying: “I’m desperate, desperate, desperate to win the FA Cup next week.
“You don’t even know how much it’s a priority. We’ll celebrate tonight and then after that it’ll be all about (the final next Saturday) and we’ll do everything we can to win this game which is so important to us.”
Guardiola would become the first manager to complete the single-season English domestic treble of league, FA Cup and League Cup titles with a win at Wembley but he was already thinking beyond that to next season.
“It’s the toughest title I’ve won in all my career, by far,” said the 48-year-old Spaniard after praising his pursuers Liverpool, who finished just a point behind in the highest-quality English title race ever witnessed.
“It will be tougher next season but we’ll be stronger too. I have a feeling next season we will try to be where we are this year.”
If City were to win a third straight title, it would be the first time since Manchester United achieved the feat between 2007 and 2009 under Alex Ferguson.
“We have to congratulate Liverpool and say ‘thanks’ because they pushed us so much. For us, it’s incredible — 198 points (in two seasons) and (to) make back-to-back wins,” added Guardiola.
The 33-year-old Kompany, who joined in 2008 from Hamburg, felt it was the best triumph of his storied City career.
“This was by far the hardest title, the most draining one. Just constantly knowing that you have to win, you have to perform, and we defeated one of the all-time greatest teams in England and I’m proud of that,” he said, after City notched up 14 straight wins in the league.
The Belgian said he had never wanted to know what was happening at Anfield on Sunday, especially when Liverpool were leading Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 and City went a goal behind at Brighton, shifting the title balance towards Merseyside.
“I had no absolutely no interest in what Liverpool were doing. If anyone had told me about what they were doing, I would have lost my head, I’d have lost my mind,” he said with a smile.
“I’m just so happy that when we conceded, the team just kept coming back,” he added, referring to Sergio Aguero’s equaliser within 90 seconds of Glenn Murray scoring for Brighton and goals from Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan.
(Reporting by Ian Chadban; Editing by Ken Ferris)