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Man City star sends warning to rivals amid latest treble push

Rodri has warned Manchester City’s rivals they can still get better as they remain in the hunt for a second consecutive treble.

City brushed aside Newcastle 2-0 on Saturday to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup for a sixth consecutive season, with their dominance not reflected in a scoreline which was defined by two deflected strikes from Bernardo Silva.

The win extended City’s unbeaten run in all competitions to 22 games, and although the international break could disrupt their rhythm, Spain midfielder Rodri believes there is more to come.

“It’s going to be good for us, this break,” Rodri said. “You will see the best version of this team at the end of the season.

“Always it happens because of the manager, because of the standards of the club, because of ourselves and the ways we have learned over these years. This is what we want to do.

“We asked the lads to rest as much as possible. I know it’s tough but we have friendly games (for our national teams). It’s important to play for our national teams but also to think about the end of the season. I think the best is yet to come.”

Pep Guardiola has been eager to deflect talk of repeating last season’s treble given the number of games remaining for City, who sit third in the Premier League, one point behind leaders Arsenal who are the next visitors to the Etihad Stadium after the break.

But Rodri and the rest of the squad recognise the opportunity that is in front of them.

“I think if you ask ourselves before the season which position we would be able to be in it would be exactly this one,” he said.

“Involved in every competition, wanting to fight for everything and this is the situation that we’re going to get after the international break.

“We can win everything, of course. It will be so, so tough. We asked ourselves at the beginning of the season to put us in a situation where we could at least fight to the end and this is the situation. The job is done up until now and now we have to do the last push.”

Last week’s Champions League draw has once again paired City with Real Madrid, who they beat 5-1 on aggregate in last season’s semi-finals.

It is a special fixture for Madrid native Rodri, who joined City from Real’s rivals Atletico in 2019.

“In my case, (we’ve played them) four times in five years since I’m here,” he said. “Yeah, we like Madrid. My home, my city. It is what it is.

“To be honest I loved what happened (in the draw) – the second game at home was the key, for me, not so much the team you draw. We have it in the quarter-finals and if we go through in the semi-finals. So we were kind of lucky in the draw.”

The match will put Rodri up against England international Jude Bellingham in the middle of the park.

“We know how he is as a player, tactically and with the quality,” Rodri said. “We know that Real Madrid is not just one player, we always said this.

“We have to focus on ourselves more than the opponent. We’ve seen in the past year that with the best performance, City can beat anyone. And this is my only target until the end of the season.”

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