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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Pep Guardiola: Manchester City must win trophies to cement their status

The Premier League leaders turn their attention to the League Cup semi-finals on Tuesday as they host Bristol City in the first leg of their tie.

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City must become a consistent trophy winner to cement their status at the top of the English game. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City must become a consistent trophy winner to cement their status at the top of the English game. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City must match Manchester United and Liverpool by winning trophies in order to become one of the game's giants - and dazzling football is not enough.

The runaway Premier League leaders maintained their relentless charge in four competitions by sweeping into the FA Cup fourth round at Burnley's expense on Saturday.

They are now eyeing a place in the League Cup final as they host Championship side Bristol City in the first leg of their semi-final tonight.

"A win helps to win more, then we are there, going to go to London to play the final," said the City manager.

"It's important (to win trophies). To become a big club like the teams I have faced, or teams like (Manchester) United or Liverpool, with a really big history, you have to win.

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"Nobody can take away what we have lifted so far - the pleasures from this team of the last three or four months, they belong to us. In the process, when you live in good moments, I say to the players, 'Enjoy it'. It is so complicated it may not happen again.

"But after, of course, to give real value to what we have done so far, what we are going to do in the future, you have to lift the titles. Without that, it's OK, it's good, but not enough."

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss was pleased to see Leroy Sane back on the scoresheet in the 4-1 victory against Burnley.

The winger has been one of several standout City performers this season but the strike was the 21-year-old's first since October and Guardiola feels he still has much to do to reach his full potential.

"He has a special talent," said Guardiola. "Of course it was important to score another goal. We need his goals, but also his assists, crosses, how he defends backwards.

"He made a lot of very good things but at 21, 22 years old - I met only one player in my life at that age who knew absolutely everything and he could do absolutely everything. The other guys have many, many things to improve, and Leroy especially."

Meanwhile, Bristol City's Korey Smith said he and his teammates believed they are capable of causing an upset and shocking Guardiola's side.

"This game is over two legs so it's a little bit different, you've probably got to use your head a little bit more," said Smith, who scored the winning goal in their 2-1 win over Manchester United in the quarter-finals last month.

"But as long as we bring it back to Ashton Gate with a good scoreline we've got every chance."

City lost to another Premier League side in Watford in the FA Cup on Saturday, but Smith added: "The lads won't get too down about that.

"We've beaten four Premier League teams this season and it gives us that extra bit of confidence."