Football

Vincent Kompany: Manchester City are not done yet

Man City captain and his team are desperate to win domestic Treble; manager Guardiola has warned rivals that English champions will only get stronger

Manchester City's victorious players were adamant amid the celebrations that greeted the completion of their magnificent English Premier League triumph 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 the English Treble by winning the FA Cup final against Watford this Sunday.

Not only that but Pep Guardiola's insatiable team, who reportedly are set to net a whopping £20 million (S$35.6m) bonus if they win the Treble, were already thinking beyond the fantastic 2018-19 campaign and contemplating a third straight English title win next season with their manager 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 last week 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 it'll be all about the final and we'll do everything we can to win the game which is so important to us."

City took the EPL title by just one point from Liverpool, despite the Reds amassing a club record 97 points. Indeed, Liverpool's points tally is the third highest in EPL history, behind only City this season and when they racked up 100 points in storming to the title last year.

Guardiola, 48, 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 is already looking ahead to next season and repeating the feats he achieved in winning three titles in a row at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

"Winning is so addictive and, of course, in a few days we have the FA Cup," said Guardiola, who has now won eight league titles in 10 seasons as a coach.

"After the final, we'll take the right decisions for next season to come back stronger because Liverpool will maintain it and the others will be better.

ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE

"(Manchester) United must come back, Chelsea one more year with (Maurizio) Sarri will be better, Tottenham (Hotspur) we have seen (get to the) final of the Champions League and Arsenal, when do they what they have to do, will be there as well.

"We know it, but we accept the challenge and I promise you we will come back and I have the feeling we will be stronger next season."

The Catalan also used England's traditionally two most successful clubs as an example to City's players, fans and owners not to take their current success for granted.

"Now when you win the title you realise how difficult it is just to win one title," he said.

"Liverpool in the last four years didn't win one. Man United and Liverpool are the biggest clubs in England.

"The biggest mistake, which with me is not going to happen, is believe we are something special, because you win four or five titles in two years. But still you can go the next four or five without winning anything.

"That's why I want the fans, the organisation, to enjoy that moment because it's so complicated."

If City were to win a third straight EPL title, it would be the first time since Manchester United achieved the feat between 2007 and 2009 under Sir Alex Ferguson.

"It's the toughest title I've won in all my career, by far," said Guardiola.

"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."

The 33-year-old Kompany, who joined in 2008 from Hamburg SV, 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 Guendogan.

- AFP, REUTERS

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