Pep Guardiola has claimed his super-charged Manchester City have a chance to emulate rivals United by winning the Treble this season.
The Spanish super-coach accepts it’s a long shot – but if they don’t it won’t be because the intensity of the Premier League proved too much.
City are in awesome form having dropped just two points from 30 in the league this season.
But even though critics are predicting Guardiola’s side could match Arsenal’s famous Invincibles from 2004 and go through the season unbeaten and make a clean sweep of trophies, the Spaniard is cautious.
Since United’s historic 1999 Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble the feat has never been repeated by a English club.
It’s claimed the tribal nature of the Premier League kills any chance of an English team repeating United’s triple triumph 18 years ago – but Guardiola disagrees.
He said: “To win the treble is an exceptional situation. Barcelona did it twice. United did it. Inter Milan with Mourinho. Celtic a long time ago. I think it’s an exceptional situation.
“It’s a big mistake to say we’re going to win the Treble. But I don’t believe it would be the intensity of the Premier League that would stop a team.
“I believe that when you play better you win the games. It’s not the intensity.”
While accepting the difficulty of emulating Sir Alex Ferguson’s achievement of 1999, Guardiola believes it IS possible this season.“My feeling is that all five teams from English football will go through to the last 16. I think that is the first real good step.
“We are there, Tottenham are there, United are nearly there, Liverpool will be there and Chelsea, OK the last two results were not good but I think they will be there.
“That’s good. That is the best news when comparing to previous years for English football.
“And afterwards we will see but if there are five teams there – then there is more chance to win the Champions League and maybe Doubles and Trebles.
“The Treble is an exceptional situation. Bayern Munich was another one with Jupp Heynckes.
“They are a top team in Europe but they have only one Treble in their whole history – even through the [Franz] Beckenbauer, Uli Hoesness, [Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge period. So to do that is exceptional.”
What’s undeniable is the way Guardiola’s stars love playing his breathtaking brand of football.
And the Spaniard said that’s music to his ears.
Guardiola said: “That gives me most pleasure. The most. That is the reason why we are managers. So the most.
“The satisfaction is when they are happier when they are going to play and they win the games so that’s when I’m proud the most. And hopefully we can make them happier for a long time.”
Meanwhile, Guardiola has saluted unsung midfield hero Fernandinho. He said: “Right now he is one of the best, best, best three holding midfield players anywhere.”
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