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Pep: Domestic treble harder than winning Champions League

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Manchester City won its third tournament of the season on Saturday, battering Watford 6-0 at Wembley Stadium to add an FA Cup to its League Cup and Premier League titles.

[ RECAP: Man City 6-0 Watford ]

In doing so, City is the first club to win a domestic treble. Manager Pep Guardiola wants to win every competition he enters, but said winning all three is extra special.

“I love the Champions League but it is more difficult to do what we have done than to win the Champions League,” Guardiola said.

Wait, what?

From ManCity.com:

“It’s not easy being there every three days. We lacked a little bit of energy but it’s normal. It’s been so tough this week. We could not have had more energy but we kept it at the right time.”

Well, that makes sense. Whereas Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp risked less with his cup lineups, knowing his desire for the Premier League and Champions League, Guardiola’s lineups were aimed at winning everything.

And that’s largely why they’ve done it. City might’ve needed penalty kicks to beat Chelsea in the League Cup Final and a John Stones clearance to win the Premier League (or a Vincent Kompany thunderbolt), but the treble is impressive.

Justification in the air amid Man City’s historic treble

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LONDON — Until their name is cleared by UEFA, questions will remain about Manchester City’s incredible domestic treble. Justification was in the air at Wembley on Saturday.

[ MORE: Man City win FA Cup

Moments after hammering Watford to win the FA Cup to complete something no other men’s team in English history had achieved, Pep Guardiola was asked questions, rightly so, about City’s achievements on the pitch being diminished by ongoing investigations off the pitch.

It is something you just can’t ignore.

At the final whistle at Wembley, a Man City fan somehow burst into the press seating area and as he was being escorted away by security he accused the media of ignoring Man City winning the domestic treble, saying that “Mo Salah will be on the back pages” tomorrow. That exchanged summed up the feeling of a large portion of Man City fans right now. Just check their responses on social media.

City are a club in full justification mood as they celebrate the most glorious season in their history.

With UEFA opening up another investigation into allegations of City deliberately circumventing financial fair flay (FFP) rules, a decision on what punishment they will receive is imminent after UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) has referred City to the CFCB adjudicatory chamber.

A minimum one-year ban from the Champions League has been reportedly recommended, and Guardiola is ready for any punishment coming their way.

“We are not guilty until proven,” Guardiola said. “When I say this squad make the first step forward with Sheikh Mansour, definitely. You can’t do that without top players. No way. Money helps to buy the incredible players we have. After that, we wait. If we are punished we will accept it. But I listen to my chairman and listen to my CEO and they give me the arguments why they are under investigation, and I trust them. When they tell me that we absolutely followed the rules, I believe them. If the opponent and contenders believe just money does that, it is okay.”

Guardiola was then asked about allegations that Roberto Mancini received separate payments from Abu Dhabi while he was in charge of Man City, and if he himself had ever been involved in similar payments, something he hadn’t answered previously when asked.

City’s boss wasn’t a fan of being asked that question minutes after completing the League Cup, Premier League and FA Cup treble.

“Do you know the question you are asking to me? Do you know the question you are asking me? If I received money from another situation right now, today. Honestly,” Guardiola fumed. “Do you think I deserve to have this type of question, what happened with Roberto I don’t know, the day I win the treble about if I received money in other situations…”

These questions will go on and City will continue to see their amazing victories, performances and trophies won on the pitch undermined until they are proven once and for all not guilty of the allegations brought about by the investigations brought up again after more details were released via Football Leaks.

Their fans feel like the achievements of their team aren’t lauded enough by the media, and the strong statements of the club against UEFA have put up a fence between themselves and the rest of the soccer world.

Guardiola’s achievement of winning the treble this season should not go without huge praise. Finances aside, he has created a remarkable team which is capable of ripping up the record books once again next season.

The Spanish coach admitted that this season wasn’t his best as a manager (that title will surely go to the 2008-09 campaign when he won the treble, including the Champions League, at Barcelona), but did take a shot at Liverpool and Tottenham reaching the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1, as City were denied a chance to win an even more historic quadruple.

“I wouldn’t say the best, but one of the best, sure,” Guardiola said. “In 10 months, to play in all competitions, and the fact that none of the other incredible teams have done this in this country, to be the first means that if one team is able to do that, another team is going to be able to repeat. We were the first and it means to be consistent every three days. I love the Champions League, but to do this is more difficult than winning the Champions League. We did it.”

Pep is following City’s fans and officials in feeling the need to add extra justification to their historic season.

Man City win FA Cup, seal historic domestic treble (video)

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  • Man City first-ever English team to win domestic treble
  • Silva, Jesus, De Bruyne, Sterling score
  • Watford miss first half chances
  • 50 wins on the season for City

LONDON — Manchester City have done something no other team has managed in the history of men’s soccer in England.

Pep Guardiola‘s side beat Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday to win complete the domestic treble, as they added the FA Cup to the League Cup and Premier League trophies they already won this season.

The winning margin also equalled the highest-ever in an FA Cup final, as Bury beat Derby County 6-0 back in 1903.

David Silva and Gabriel Jesus each scored in the first half against a spirited Watford side who missed several chances, while Kevin De Bruyne, Jesus and then Sterling (twice) all added goals in the second half to complete the rout.

City’s fans were in party mood at Wembley, as Guardiola’s men completed one of the greatest seasons in English soccer history. A sea of sky blue celebrated throughout, as the only blemish on their campaign was their agonizingly narrow UEFA Champions League quarterfinal defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

Enjoy this City side as long as you can, because we are witnessing history on a weekly basis with them. Monday’s trophy parade in Manchester will be quite the occasion, as Guardiola’s side get to show off their silverware.

The first big chance of the game fell to City as Bernardo Silva got to the byline but his ball into the six-yard box was cleared before Jesus could pounce.

Watford then had a glorious chance to go ahead in the 11th minute as a counter attack set Roberto Pereyra clean through on goal but Ederson stood up to the last second and made a superb stop with his legs.

City controlled the tempo of the game but Watford were dangerous on the break, as another chance fell to Pereyra and he managed to scoop the ball to Abdoulaye Doucoure. His shot was blocked by Vincent Kompany as the ball deflected on his arm but no penalty kick was given by referee Kevin Friend, much to the annoyance of Watford.

David Silva then put City ahead as Raheem Sterling caused Watford problems and won a header before Silva first won another duel, then latched onto the loose ball as his shot deflected off Kiko Femenia and into the far corner to put the Premier League champions 1-0 up.

Before the break Man City doubled their lead as Bernardo Silva’s teasing ball to the back post picked out Jesus brilliantly.

With Gomes stranded in goal after coming off his line, the Brazilian striker hooked the ball goalwards  and Sterling smashed home to make sure even though the ball had already gone over the line. 2-0 to City, who had one hand on the FA Cup trophy.

Watford started brightly in the second half but Man City then hit them on the break as Gomes denied fellow Brazilian Jesus to keep the Hornets in the game.

From the resulting corner Jesus headed home but he was in an offside position, and then Watford continued to press to find a way back into the game. After Aymeric Laporte had headed wide the Hornets broke free but Deulofeu scuffed his shot harmlessly wide as it was that kind of day for Watford.

City then completed their historic feat by launching a rapid counter attack as Jesus won the ball and was then played in by Sterling before setting up De Bruyne to slot home.

De Bruyne then returned the favor as he set Jesus free and he waited until the last moment to slot home under Gomes and wheel away in delight.

Watford kept trying to push forward and that left gaps for City to exploit, as Bernardo Silva then crossed for Sterling to slot home a fifth goal.

Sterling then scored his second and City’s second as he reacted to his own shot which hit the post.

John Stones was denied a seventh late on as Gomes produced a fantastic save down low.

City could have scored a few more late on, as Guardiola’s boys completed the domestic treble with minimum fuss.

VIDEO: Silva, Jesus put Man City on course for historic treble

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Watford had their moments, but it is Manchester City who took their chances early on in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

[ LIVE: Follow the FA Cup final

David Silva reacted to his own header quickly and his shot deflected off Kiko Femenia and into the far corner to put City 1-0 up against Watford and leave them 45 minutes away from completing a treble of domestic trophies.

Gabriel Jesus added another before the break as Heurelho Gomes allowed a cross to reach his far post and the Brazilian striker hooked the ball towards goal as Raheem Sterling lurked on the line. Jesus was given the goal as it had just crossed the line before Sterling arrived.

If the result holds City will be the first time in English history (in the men’s game) to win all three domestic trophies in the same season.

Click on the link above to follow the second half of the final at Wembley as Watford have cause City’s defense plenty of problems on the break.

Check out the goals from Silva and Jesus below, as El Mago delivered yet another crucial moment to set the Premier League champions on their way.

LIVE, FA Cup Final: Man City v. Watford

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The FA Cup final takes place on Saturday at Wembley Stadium as Manchester City and Watford do battle (kick off, 12 p.m. ET) for the final domestic trophy of the season in England.

[ LIVE: Follow the FA Cup final ]

If Man City and Pep Guardiola win they will secure a historic domestic treble of trophies, becoming the first team in the men’s game to win all three trophies available to English teams in the same season.

But Watford are more than capable of producing a shock win, with Javi Gracia‘s men possessing a solid defensive unit and the likes of Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu in attack who can cause City problems.

Below are the starting lineups from both teams, as Man City start Gabriel Jesus up front with Sergio Aguero on the bench. Watford start Pereyra, Deulofeu and Deeney in attack and Heurelho Gomes starts in goal in what could be his final game as a professional before retirement.

You can click on the link above to follow live updates from the final, while we will have reaction and analysis from Wembley.


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