Manchester City defender Oleksandr Zinchenko says he can see “hungry eyes” in the Blues’ dressing room as they close in on an unprecedented quadruple – but he missed the irritated looks of his manager Pep Guardiola, who rebuked him for talking about it.
City became the first team to win all three domestic trophies in 2019.
This term they are in a position to go one better. They are 14 points clear in the Premier League and play Tottenham in the EFL Cup final at Wembley on 25 April.
On Saturday, they aim to beat Everton to reach the FA Cup semi-final but before that face Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League last-16, having already established a two-goal cushion from the ‘away’ leg.
“Inside the dressing room I can see hungry eyes,” said 24-year-old Zinchenko.
“Bayern Munich won everything last season and Barcelona did it the last year with Pep, so everything is possible.
“I would say this period right now is the most important two months of our careers.”
Within 15 minutes, his manager appeared on the same media conference Zoom call and doused Zinchenko’s bullish optimism with a harsh reality check.
“I am older than Mr Zinchenko,” he said. “I have more experience and I don’t agree with him.
“The only thing he has to be worried about is trying to play a good game tomorrow and trying to go through.”
‘Four titles is a utopia’
Guardiola’s mantra for a number of weeks now has been to take it one game at a time, aware that his Champions League record with City is not particularly impressive.
Monaco, Tottenham and Lyon have all knocked the Blues out of Europe during Guardiola’s tenure and in 2018, Liverpool beat them home and away in the quarter-final.
He is also aware the more his players talk about winning four trophies, the more chance there is of being viewed as a failure if City fall short.
“Four titles is a utopia,” he said. “It never happened before and I think it is never going to happen.
“We just think about this one, then the next one at Goodison Park, then the international break.
“If you ask me if I agree with Zinchenko, I say no, completely not.”