Pep Guardiola: ‘That consistency every three days for 11 months, for 10 years, that’s what I admire the most.’ Photo: Getty Images
Pep Guardiola says he is being driven by the desire to turn Manchester City into England's answer to Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus by ushering in a period of sustained dominance.
The City manager has challenged his players to ensure there is no let-up in their battle on four fronts this season and the wider pursuit of serial success after Saturday's 5-0 thrashing of Burnley eased them into the FA Cup fifth round.
City will move a point behind Premier League leaders Liverpool if they beat Newcastle United at St James' Park tomorrow night as they bid to become the first club to retain the title for a decade. Having already reached the League Cup final for the second successive season, City will also resume their bid for Champions League glory next month when they face Schalke in the round of 16.
Guardiola cited Juventus, who have won seven Serie A titles on the spin and four successive Italian Cups, Bayern, winners of the past six Bundesliga titles, and Barcelona, Spanish champions in three of the past four campaigns and holders of the Copa del Rey for four consecutive years, as the clubs City must try to emulate.
"What are the best clubs in the last decade? Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona. Why? Because every season they win the league, they win the cups, every season they are there," Guardiola said. "It doesn't matter what happened before. They go again and again and again.
"That is the most difficult thing. Win one night, two nights, win one title, two titles - that can happen. But that consistency every three days for 11 months, for 10 years, that's what I respect and admire the most. That will be my dream in this club.
"Sometimes you are lucky, sometimes you are not, but the most important thing is being there and that's what I want. So, Premier League until the end, Carabao Cup final back to back - hats off for my players. The Cup [against Burnley], win the game, get through. Prepare against Schalke. That's when you become a better team."
Guardiola also said he had told his players that the thirst for repeat success should trump any feelings of fatigue. "I cannot give them days off, we have a lot of games, so no way, but sometimes I tell them it's a privilege," he said. "If you believe it's a handicap, you are [making] a big mistake. When you are 35 years old you can have long holidays, no problem.
"You will be retired... but in this moment, it's a privilege. Take it, enjoy it. Next one - win again. Next one - win again, whatever competition, it doesn't matter. That is the only way."
Victory over Burnley - their eighth consecutive win in all competitions - meant City have now scored 29 goals since last conceding and Guardiola said the way his squad had remained in the hunt for four trophies despite so many injury setbacks "gives us a lot of encouragement".
Kevin De Bruyne was the latest household name to show clear signs of hitting his stride again after a frustrating month following his return from two knee injuries that sidelined him for four months.
Burnley could not live with the Belgium midfielder, who scored from 20 yards, set up City's second for Bernardo Silva and provided the cross from which Kevin Long turned into his own net. Sergio Aguero added the fifth from the penalty spot after a lovely solo goal from Gabriel Jesus got City up and running.
Burnley had a good chance to equalise through Matej Vydra but this was a mismatch between two clubs with very different targets. Guardiola, it is clear, wants it all.