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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Matt Verri

Pep Guardiola shuts down talk of Manchester City treble as he sends FA Cup warning to players

Pep Guardiola has dismissed talk of Manchester City winning the treble this season, insisting he is “not at all” excited about the possibility.

City continue to fight on three fronts after seeing off Bayern Munich in midweek to reach the Champions League semi-finals, and they now turn to their focus to the FA Cup last-four as they face Sheffield United at Wembley on Saturday.

That comes four days ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Manchester for a Premier League clash that could well decide the outcome of the title race, with the Gunners currently four points clear at the top having played a game more.

After the draw in Munich that sealed a 4-1 aggregate win for City, Guardiola emphasised his worry that fatigue could catch up with his players, and that was far more of a concern in his pre-match conference ahead of the match against Sheffield United than the thought of adding three trophies to the cabinet.

“We will start to talk about the treble when we’ve won the Premier League, after we’ve the FA Cup and before the final of the Champions League,” Guardiola said. “Look how far away until we start to talk about that.”

When told it was just 11 games away, though the actual figure is 13, he responded sarcastically: “Just. Yeah, just 11 games. Just.

“We’re far away. How many times in this amazing country have trebles been done? How many years, how many times? One. Our neighbours did it.

“The best is to focus on having enough legs for tomorrow to compete against Sheffield United.”

One whether he was getting excited about the chance of winning the treble, Guardiola added: “About the treble? Not at all.”

City lost 3-2 to Liverpool last season in an FA Cup semi-final clash that was effectively decided in the opening 45 minutes, with Guardiola’s side three-goals down at the break and ultimately unable to recover from that start.

It was the third year in a row that they have been beaten at the last-four stage at Wembley, and the City boss has warned his side that their attention must be on Sheffield United rather than what is to come in Europe or in the Premier League.

“If you play the semi-finals [thinking it is] not important enough like the Champions League or next game against Arsenal, it is better not to travel,” Guardiola said.

“It’s better to stay here. What we have done in the past, the last three or four years in the FA Cup semi-finals, it’s better that we stayed in Manchester. You can lose, but not the way we lose. We were not even there.”

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