MANUEL PELLEGRINI is hoping Manchester City's Capital One Cup success is merely the first leg of a historic trophy treble.
City claimed the first trophy of the season at Wembley yesterday as second-half goals from Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas secured a 3-1 victory over Sunderland.
No English club has ever completed the domestic treble of winning the League Cup, FA Cup and Premier League title in the same season, but Manchester City are well positioned to make history with two-and-a-half months of the campaign to go.
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Pellegrini's side entertain Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup quarter-finals next weekend and are currently six points behind league leaders Chelsea, with two games in hand. Win those, and their superior goal difference will take them to the top of the table.
“We are the only club that has the chance to win all the competitions,” said the Manchester City boss. “If you have a chance to do the first, then you must do it. Today, it was very important for all of us to win.
“It gives us a lot of confidence because if you have a chance to win a title and don't do it, maybe it stays in your mind.
“We are going to try to win the treble. It's not easy. We have respect for Wigan because we know what happened with them last year (when Manchester City lost the FA Cup final). But we are going to try to do it, of course.”
Yesterday's success means that Manchester City have now won three major trophies in the last four seasons, and the club can justifiably claim to be established members of the English elite.
When Vincent Kompany lifted the Capital One Cup trophy above his head, he was able to celebrate City's first League Cup success since 1976, when they beat Newcastle United in the final, and while the self-styled 'richest club in the world' are becoming serial winners, Pellegrini is confident his squad remain as hungry and driven as ever.
“We won just one trophy today, and nobody can think that's enough,” he said. “Why? Because I don't think top players or an important group can be satisfied with one trophy. I was absolutely sure that if we kept working, we could win titles, and today we won the first one.”
It didn't look like ending that way for the majority of the first half, with City trailing to Fabio Borini's tenth-minute strike.
Two goals in the space of two minutes from Toure and Nasri changed the complexion of the game, with Jesus Navas adding some gloss with a further goal in stoppage time.
Ultimately, City's star players changed the game, but Pellegrini was nevertheless impressed with Sunderland's performance.
“It was not easy to be one goal down against Sunderland,” he said. “They played a very good match and I congratulate Gus Poyet and all the players. They deserved to play in the final because they beat some very good sides along the way like Chelsea and Manchester United, and they played very well.
“But we had the patience to keep going and creating space. Maybe we didn't have our best day, but the team worked together without the ball.
“Sunderland didn't have many chances to score, and it's difficult to play when you are one goal down. You play against Sunderland, against the time and against your nerves.”