Dubai: Former Manchester City star Joleon Lescott says the treble success of the club last season was a huge achievement but would be very difficult to repeat the feat this season. “It’s a huge, huge achievement,” Lescott said, who was in Abu Dhabi as part of the City’s Treble Trophy Tour recently. City won the Premier League in dramatic fashion last season and then followed it up with FA Cup and Champions League titles.
“But, I think it’s going to be difficult [to win the treble again]. Obviously, there’ll be favourites, going into every competition due to the success of last season. But I don’t think we should just assume it’s going to be as easy. In a way, I just hope they get time to enjoy that, and people reflect on that in a positive light and not just take that for granted, which I think has happened a little bit, because they have been favourites for so long and been so dominant. I think only five clubs across the five major leagues in Europe have done it. So to achieve that, it’s a huge honour,” added Lescott, who has played 160 games in his five years at Etihad Stadium.
Surprisingly, despite a positive start, City’s performance this season has seen a sudden slump with losses to Newcastle United in EFL Cup and to Wolves and Arsenal in Premier League. Though it’s too early to press the panic button, City would surely want to rejig their plans if they were to not lose their dominance at the top.
“It’s always going to be strong [fight from the opponents]. Again, as dominant as City have been, there hasn’t been many times when it’s gone the way it’s planned from the first game to the last, even last season. Like I said, they weren’t top of the league until the very late stages of the game, or the very last days of the season. But in regards to title contenders, you’d have to say, Arsenal, due to their season last year, their signings, and Liverpool as well, were in the reckoning. But City, obviously, have set a new bar. It’s for teams to catch them. Hopefully they do this season,” said Lescott, who has won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and the League Up with City.
'Guardiola is a huge factor'
The 41-year-old had a word of praise for Pep Guardiola and said he plays a huge factor in the team’s success. “You have to give credit to Guardiola. It’s never down to one factor, I’m sure the manager will admit himself that it is a huge factor to the success. The players obviously have implemented what has been asked on the pitch, and without his tactics I don’t think the level of consistency would be there, so he used to get an enormous amount of credit for that. I’m sure the players will admit that as well. He said Pep has always spoke on the importance of having good players but I’m sure a group of players recognise how important he is to them and the club.”
Lescott also felt Rodrigo’s role was an important one in the team who made a huge impact last season. “Yeah, I think he’s the best at the job he does and again just shows how the manager of the club understands what is needed and recognises talent. Before him, they played a different way within the same role, equally as effective and for what was coming, I’m sure there were sceptics, with even you guys thinking how does he fill the void that Fernandinho was going to leave when he left the club.
"He has been amazing and can go far to say he’s definitely been the most consistent player over the last four or five years. As well as everyone has done, he has done as well as anyone in his position and his importance to the team, I think is huge. And not only does he nullify attacks, but he also scored goals, more so than the final of the Champions League.”