03 Jun 2023 at 05:06
Manchester City dreams of the treble: winning the Champions League, the FA Cup and the English national title in one season. The only club that has ever done this before is Manchester United, this afternoon’s opponent in the FA Cup final.
City rivals Manchester City and Manchester United will face each other for the first time in the FA Cup final on Saturday. Both clubs have already won a prize this season: United won the League Cup by beating Newcastle United in the final (2-0). City became national champions for the third season in a row.
However, ‘The Citizens’ want more. Everything revolves around winning the Champions League, the national title and the FA Cup this season. Two finals separate the team of coach Pep Guardiola from that goal: the FA Cup final against Manchester United and the Champions League final against Internazionale on June 10.
The only English club to ever win the treble is today the opponent in the FA Cup final: Manchester United. After securing the national championship and the FA Cup in 1999, the Champions League final against Bayern Munich awaited at Camp Nou. In one of the most legendary finals ever, United turned a 0-1 deficit into a 2-1 lead in stoppage time to take England’s first ever treble.
As a manager, Guardiola has already won a treble. He did that in his first season as head coach (2008/2009), when FC Barcelona won the Champions League, the Spanish national championship and the Spanish cup.
Manchester City defender Nathan Ake was injured for a long time, but made his comeback against Brentford last Sunday. Photo: Getty Images
Guardiola vol lof over Ten Hag
Guardiola did not hide his praise for Ten Hag at the press conference prior to the cup final. “A final is always difficult, especially against United. They have been a completely different team in the last five, six months. Even compared to the beginning of the season, they have improved a lot.
The Spaniard, who finished fourth in his first season as manager of Manchester City, emphasizes how difficult it is to make an immediate difference as a coach in the English league. “The first season in the Premier League is not easy. I know that better than anyone. You can see that Ten Hag is a really good manager.”
“I can’t say that Ten Hag and I are friends, because we don’t have much contact,” Guardiola continued. “But I think Manchester United have an exceptional manager for the next few years.”
Ten Hag did not want to say too much about the opponent at his press conference. “They are doing great and they are playing very good football, so they deserve to be where they are. But I prefer to look at ourselves, at where we are. I think we have made a lot of progress this year; we are on the right track .”
Erik ten Hag and Josep Guardiola shake hands ahead of Manchester United-Manchester City. Photo: Getty Images
Ten Hag coaches sixth cup final
For Ten Hag it will be the sixth cup final in his coaching career. The Dutch trainer previously reached the final in the Netherlands with FC Utrecht (2016) and Ajax (2019, 2021 and 2022). Ten Hag won twice (2019, 2021) and twice ‘de Pine Cone’ passed the nose of the tukker.
This season, Ten Hag won his first cup final on English territory, by beating Newcastle United 2-0 in the League Cup final. As a player, Ten Hag reached one cup final, in 2001 on behalf of FC Twente against PSV (0-0, win after penalties).
The 142nd FA Cup Final traditionally starts at 3 p.m. at Wembley (4 p.m. Dutch time). The match is officiated by referee Paul Tierney.
Cup finals Erik ten Hag as coach
2015/16: KNVB Cup, Feyenoord-FC Utrecht (2-1)
2018/19: KNVB Cup, Willem II-Ajax (0-4)
2020/21: KNVB Cup, Vitesse-Ajax (2-1)
2021/22: KNVB Cup, PSV-Ajax (2-1)
2022/23: League Cup, Manchester United-Newcastle United (2-0)
2022/23: FA Cup, Manchester City-Manchester United (?-?)