Manchester City treble bid driven by desire to match United, claims Walker

<span>Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA</span>
Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Kyle Walker has said Manchester City’s attempt to claim the treble is being driven by the desire to emulate Manchester United’s team of 1999.

If Pep Guardiola’s side beat Internazionale in Saturday’s Champions League final in Istanbul they will become only the second English side to claim the league, FA Cup and European Cup in a single season. Walker said that doing so would draw City alongside Sir Alex Ferguson’s team of 24 years ago and the Arsenal Invincibles of 2003-04, who were unbeaten in the Premier League.

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“That United team, along with the Invincibles, is probably up there with the best Premier League teams of all time,” he said. “What us and Liverpool, to a certain extent, have done where we have been battling for the last number of years, should be in consideration – both teams as we both have fantastic players.

“But for us to be in contention of being able to talk [in the same breath as United and Arsenal] we need to go and pick up the Champions League. But by no stretch of the imagination do we just turn up on Saturday and win it. It’s not that. Inter Milan need to be considered as a great team.”

Walker was unable to train on Tuesday because of a back problem but believes he will be fit for Saturday. Two years ago he suffered bitter disappointment when City lost the Champions League final to Chelsea in Porto.

“I didn’t really have much time to get over it as I had to tune back into England and go and compete in a tournament for my country,” he said, referring to the delayed Euro 2020. “It was hard seeing all the Chelsea boys there. You say congratulations to them because they are your teammates now, but it was tough.

“Then I experienced a loss against Italy in the final and then had to pick myself up again and get ready for the season. That’s football; it’s part of your career that everything is not going to go swimmingly well. This is 90 minutes of football where we have to make sure we are winning at all costs.”

If selected Walker will again feel the particular thrill of the final. “When you walk out, hear the anthem playing, and see the cup – these are the things you are not really expecting,” he said. “You think: ‘Oh my gosh, it’s actually happening now.’ But it is just about playing your football and trusting the people around you. I think we will be all right.

“I’m 33 so I wouldn’t say I get nervous. I hate eight o’clock games [10 o’clock local time] because it is the wait all day to go to the game. Obviously there is a little bit of nerves and nerves are good.”