Manchester: Manchester City remain in contention for a historic haul of four trophies this season, but winning the one by which Pep Guardiola’s time at the Etihad will be judged depends on overturning a 0-1 Champions League quarterfinal, first leg deficit against Tottenham on Wednesday.
City’s long-term pursuit of Guardiola has delivered what it promised domestically.
Premier League records for points, goals and wins were smashed in romping to the title last season. Guardiola’s men are on course to become the first side in a decade to retain the Premier League despite Liverpool, 18 times English champions, posting what is likely to be a club record points tally.
City have already retained the League Cup and will be heavy favourites to claim more silverware when they face Watford in next month’s FA Cup final.
However, the far less heralded Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini also won Premier League titles in the decade since the club’s Abu Dhabi backers began pouring in billions of pounds of investment.
The grand plan was for Guardiola to lead City to the promised land in the Champions League, which so far he has failed to do.
The Catalan has constantly used City’s lack of history in European football as a shield. Should the English champions turn the Tottenham tie around, it will be just their second ever appearance in the semi-finals.
“We are teenagers in this competition,” said Guardiola before his side swotted aside Schalke 7-0 in the second leg of their last 16 tie.
Yet, it is not Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich that have dumped City out in Guardiola’s first two seasons, but Monaco and Liverpool.