Manchester City are one game away from completing a historic treble. Ilkay Gundogan's duo drew 1-2 with Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday and now the English champions' players have their eyes on the Champions League final to be held this Saturday at Istanbul's Ataturk Stadium, when they meet Inter.
Along with the excitement of the great sporting achievement, City are also dealing with the question of the future of captain Gundogan, who is terminating his contract and is receiving great interest from Barcelona, to whom he can move on a free transfer. Pep Guardiola says he continues to believe the German will extend his contract at City after his performance in the FA Cup final. "He knows what I'm thinking," Guardiola said yesterday at Wembley. "Maybe some of you know this, we're neighbors, we live on the same floor so for many years he's been a close friend of mine. He's an exceptional game. Hopefully we can finish well."
On Saturday's game against Inter Milan and the close proximity to achieving the treble, Pep said: "There is one more game to finish, the players feel that we are in a position that we probably will not be in again. Now we have two days off and then we have three or four training sessions and we will prepare for Inter as best as we can. We need to win the Champions League to make the name of this club where it deserves to be. It's amazing, we had a great time during the season but we also need to lift the Champions Cup."
Ten Hag disappointed, yesterday at Wembley, Photo: Reuters
On the losing side, of course, they had a hard time accepting the result. While the Red Devils can see this season as a success, having finished in a Champions League spot and won the League Cup, they have struggled to see their city rivals celebrating at their expense and coming close to achieving their first treble since they did so themselves in 1999.
United manager Erik ten Hag defended David de Gea after the goalkeeper was criticised for his performance in City's second goal. De Gea's mistake yesterday was compounded by his mistakes in the Europa League against Sevilla and in the league against West Ham, but the Dutchman continued to support the Devils' goal appearances record.
These two! 💙🏆 pic.twitter.com/Q9Q0vad6XM
— Manchester City (@ManCity) June 3, 2023
"At this moment, I don't want to talk about such issues of criticism because we have all delivered a great season - including De Gea, he has played fantastically this season. We are heading in the right direction but there are glitches in the game, problems in the game that we have to improve if we want to take the next step and win trophies."
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Ten Hag added: "I have one plan and that is to improve this club and improve this team. I have my ideas and I have already told the club what we need to do for it but I have to work with my staff, with my players to be better next season. I'm very proud of where we came from at the beginning of the season."
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