Speaking to Pep Guardiola on Sunday night, he reiterated the point that Manchester City need to win the Champions League to be named among the greats. Perhaps he is starting to mentally prepare his team for the showdown with Inter Milan in Istanbul but I disagree.
Anyone outside the club who says this City squad isn’t one of the greats is contradicting themselves. I watched the players celebrate their fifth title in six years and thought about the obstacles they had to overcome along the way to get here.
They twice stopped an impressive Liverpool team: who is to say that they will again reach the levels they did when they reached 97 points (2019) then 93 points (2022)? The Arsenal squad that lacked this campaign already have more points (81) than Arsene Wenger’s double-winners in 1998 (78).
Guardiola said something that really struck a chord with me. Imagine if he started work tomorrow and was told he had to win five titles by 2029 – that task would be almost impossible to fathom, never mind achieve.
So, no, success in Europe is not important. These men are giants.
Pep Guardiola secured his fifth Premier League title as Manchester City manager on Sunday
Guardiola (centre) stressed at full-time that his City side must win the Champions League to be considered good
This Manchester City will be considered great whether they win the Champions League or not
A privileged meeting with Paolo Maldini
Never meet your heroes, so the saying goes. Let me tell you that saying couldn’t be further from the truth. I met Paolo Maldini in Milan last week.
I’m a pretty confident person and can talk to most people but I was star struck when he came up to say ‘hello’.
The greatest defender to ever play football was a unique man. What a privilege to be in his company.
Meeting Paolo Maldini (right) in Milan last week was a brilliant moment and what a great man he is.
We’ll give this City team a run for their money
There has been much debate recently comparing Manchester United’s 1999 Treble winners and the City boys who aspire to emulate them. Who will win if the two teams play? Impossible to say, although I know Roy Keane and Peter Schmeichel have strong views on this!
For fun, someone asked me how the title-winning squad I was on in 2012 compared to the class of 2023. Answer? I’m not sure we come close to them in terms of how well they work as a group of moving parts.
Our group has intelligence in Sergio Aguero, class in David Silva, leadership in Vincent Kompany and other good qualities.
Micah Richard’s (left) 2012 Manchester City team featured real stars like Sergio Aguero (right)
The current crop of City stars will certainly give us a good test if we play each other
If something is missing, however, we are not very smooth. Pep Guardiola changed his team, on the contrary, and nothing changes. We will give it our best but it will be hard!
Leicester’s issues have been in the making for a long time
Leicester have worried me for a long time and, sadly, their fate could be all-but sealed on Monday if they lose at Newcastle.
I wonder how they can replace the head of their dressing room, Kasper Schmeichel, after selling him to Nice and then letting Youri Tielemans’ contract situation drift.
He is one of eight players whose deals are due to expire. Not addressing that is a big issue.
The sacking of Kasper Schmeichel in the summer saw them lose one of their biggest leaders
Steve Cooper should be in the manager of the year conversation
I went to the City Ground earlier in the season just to watch a game as a spectator and I couldn’t believe the experience.
I wanted to feel Nottingham Forest and I was blown away by the atmosphere inside the stadium. It certainly helped them get over the line.
What a job Steve Cooper has done, another man to talk about in the conversation for Manager of the Year.
Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper should be considered for the Premier League’s manager of the year award
Cooper (left) has been subject to criticism at times but he led Forest to Premier League survival
People criticized the way they signed so many players but he made it work. The faith he placed in the outstanding Morgan Gibbs-White was amply rewarded.
Roy’s spot-on with his Ferguson verdict
A meaningful wink from Roy Keane at work on Sunday when news came that Evan Ferguson had scored again for Brighton. ‘Of course he’s good, he’s Irish!’ Roy said. We definitely agree with this.
I have been watching Ferguson since he entered the team. He’s playing with composure way beyond his years. This is an exciting young man.
News/Image Sources: Daily Mail