MANCHESTER, England (AP) — As a part of Manchester United’s treble-winning team of 1999, Gary Neville admits he is in fear ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final.
United is the only team to win the three major trophies in a single English soccer season — the Premier League title, Champions League and FA Cup.
Now Manchester City is in contention to replicate that feat, having already secured the league title.
City has the chance to win its second trophy this season when it faces United in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, which would set up a possible treble when the team coached by Pep Guardiola meets Inter Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul on June 10.
“I do fear it is on the cards,” Neville told The Associated Press. “City have not got there yet, but they look like they are on the way, on the path.
“They’ve got a great manager, they’ve got great players, but they’ve still got to get over the line. Anything can happen and we just pray and (have our) fingers crossed. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”
City has overtaken United as English soccer’s dominant team over the past decade and has just won its fifth league title in six years. But the club has yet to match United’s greatest ever achievement, and has yet to ever win the European title.
And now United has the chance to end its rival’s trophy pursuit at Wembley on Saturday.
United manager Erik ten Hag has enjoyed an impressive first season in charge, having led United to success in the League Cup in February, as well securing a return to the Champions League next season.
But Neville still considers City the favorite in the final.
“I think they will almost be disappointed now if they don’t win it (the treble),” Neville said. “They’ll be expected to win every game.
“The cup final might present an issue or two, it is Manchester United, but they are far better than the teams they’ve got left to play.”
City put together an unstoppable run to win the title and has blown away some of the best teams at home and abroad in its charge toward the treble. Liverpool and Arsenal were beaten 4-1 and Real Madrid lost 4-0 at Etihad Stadium in the Champions League semifinals.
Former City women’s player Jill Scott believes City will be too strong for United.
“I went to the Arsenal game and it could have been 7-0,” she told the AP. “The football they played was incredible.
“I can’t see City not coming away with that FA Cup win. Sometimes in a one-off game anything can happen, but I just think they will be far superior.”
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
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