Manchester City should still be “very cagey” over their prospects of winning the quadruple, even as the dream moves ever closer.
That is the view of City’s former influential captain Richard Dunne, as Pep Guardiola’s men sit 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
They are away to Leicester City in the top-flight on Saturday, while an EFL Cup final against Tottenham, an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea and a Champions League quarter-final with Borussia Dortmund are all fast approaching this month.
Dunne has relished City’s return to peak form in 2020-21 but still thinks it is more likely than not that they come unstuck in one of the three cup competitions, particularly after seeing them lose the derby to Manchester United.
Asked by Stats Perform News about City’s hopes of winning the quadruple, Dunne said: “It is very hard.
“When you watch Man City like we have over the last couple of months, you look and go like, ‘Nobody is going to stop them’. They just seem like they are wiping everybody away.
“And then the Manchester derby came along, and you could see how United set up and showed a platform of how to beat Man City.
“They showed how to do it, they attacked them, they pressed them high up the field.
“Other teams will try to do it, and some obviously won’t be capable of it, but if you talk about Tottenham who are capable of it, then Chelsea are too and certainly Dortmund are as well.
“So if Manchester City aren’t 100 per cent in any of those games, then all of the hopes and dreams of a quadruple go out of the window overnight.”
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 2, 2021
It will become increasingly difficult for the players to ignore the prospect of a historic quadruple with every match that passes, according to Dunne.
He added: “I know the manager doesn’t want to talk about it. But it is on everybody’s mind. It really goes back to taking every game, and every minute of the game, as it comes.
“If they start thinking too far ahead and switch off, the teams in the Champions League are too good to switch off against.
“Certainly Chelsea have proven since Thomas Tuchel has come in that they are a really good side.
“It’s great for City as everybody and all the fans want to dream and hope, but you have to be very cagey because there are some tricky games to come.”
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 2, 2021
Dunne hailed the impact of Ruben Dias, a £51million signing from Benfica who has helped to transform City after some major defensive issues last season.
“I think it’s been brilliant,” Dunne said of City’s improvement at the back.
“It’s Leicester this weekend, and it’s probably going back to Leicester at the Etihad, when they lost 5-2 in September, that they’ve started to adjust things.
“Ruben Dias has come on in that game. They’ve started to form a partnership [between him and John Stones], developed a structure in the team that worked.
“Because they became solid and a strong defensive unit, there’s no longer that need to score five or six goals and win games. Now they can win games 1-0, and grind games out which we’ve seen this season.
“It’s given them another sort of level to what they’ve already got.
“We’ve known for many years about the talent that’s in the squad going forward, the ability, but there was always that little fear that there would be a mistake in defensive areas.
“That seems to be completely eradicated this season. The defence is giving them a stronger opportunity to succeed in Europe this year than they had before.
“Pep Guardiola will be very impressed, he’ll be delighted with how things are going.
“He’s built a side a couple of years ago who scored hundreds of goals, they got 100 and odd points. This side is obviously different, but probably more suited for bigger success than the previous sides.”
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