From one beautiful setting to another, Manchester City’s most prized trophies, from its Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup triumphs, are now in Kochi as part of the City’s treble trophy tour.
And former Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha, who is part of the tour, feels it will be tough for the club to repeat the treble this season.
“In my lifetime, I have only seen it twice (an English club doing it)...in 1999, and, more importantly, last season. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, playing well, players staying healthy,” said Onuha, an ambassador for City, here on Friday as the club began its two-city India tour in Kochi (the other stop is Mumbai).
“I am sure they hope to do it and maybe they can. But I don’t expect them to do it because it is one of the greatest things you can achieve in professional football. So, may be. But it’s unlikely.”
Onuha, the Nigeria-born English citizen who played 188 Premier League matches including 95 for City between 2004 and 2012, feels the youngsters coming through the City academy are quick to understand the way football works.
“When I first started playing professionally, in 2004, young players were not the most important players. There was more emphasis on players who may be 27, 28 and 29 years of age. Because they were perceived as being the final product,” said Onuha, who climbed the rungs through the City academy.
“The players coming through the academy these days understand the game more than people my age when I was first coming through. They understand the way Man City wants to play.”
City is now one of the world’s top clubs, very much used to winning trophies, and former England defender Rio Ferdinand recently said that the biggest challenge for the club’s famed manager Pep Guardiola would be to ensure that his players stay hungry, that they don’t turn complacent.
But Onuha believes there should be no such worry.
“For these players, if they win something, it’s not complete because you have to start again. For, as much success that they have... I remember, in June they won the Champions League, an incredible achievement and they were celebrating. A week later, they announced the fixtures of the next Premier League season so you have to go again,” said the 36-year-old who also played for under-21 England.
“You don’t get as much time to enjoy as you would like. They aspire to win every game, they aspire to win every game in training, not just every game on a Saturday.”
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