LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is off and running and his English trophy collection could go on to compare with his hauls at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, the club’s midfielder Kevin de Bruyne said after they won the League Cup on Sunday.
The Spaniard’s first season at the City helm was a false start as he ended up without any silverware for the first time in a managerial career which included 11 major trophies with Barcelona and seven at Bayern.
Sunday’s 3-0 crushing victory at Wembley over a dismal Arsenal side will almost certainly be followed by the Premier League title in coming weeks, while City are also virtually assured of a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
City’s display against Arsenal proved that their shock FA Cup defeat by third-tier Wigan Athletic on Monday was a blip.
“We have had a good season already, and now we need to keep going,” Belgian De Bruyne said.
“We have this one in the bag and now we have to maintain the same focus in the Premier League and the Champions League.
“The potential for this club is amazing, and the way we play is probably one of the best in the world.”
Right back Kyle Walker, whose 50 million pounds ($69.88 million) signing from Tottenham Hotspur in the close season showed City’s financial muscle, claimed his first silverware having featured on the losing side in a final for Tottenham.
“We didn’t have the best of seasons last year, so it was important for us to get this trophy under our belts,” he said.
City did not even have to be at their best on Sunday.
Sergio Aguero’s goal, his fifth in five consecutive games against Arsenal, divided the sides at the end of a scrappy first half, before City stepped on the gas and pulled away with skipper Vincent Kompany and David Silva both on target.
It was the perfect response to the FA Cup fifth round defeat by Wigan which ended talk of quardruples.
“It was so important to win this one, because we played 10 v 11 for 45 minutes (against Wigan) so it wasn’t easy,” Guardiola said. “Now we concentrate on the Premier League. We will try to win the rest of our games, and the Champions League, too.”
City can restore a 16-point lead at the top of the domestic standings if they beat Arsenal at The Emirates next week.
“Now we have to focus on the next game away at Arsenal on Thursday and to think about the Premier League,” Aguero said.
($1 = 0.7155 pounds)
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris