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‘We have to be perfect’

Manchester City are on course to winning a historic European treble, and standing in their way will be the only English side to ever achieve the feat.

Manchester United beat Brighton on penalties at Wembley to earn their place in the FA Cup final where they take on their city rivals for the showpiece event in the domestic football calendar.

Ten Hag has masterminded another cup final in his first season


Ten Hag has masterminded another cup final in his first season

But he knows exactly what’s standing in his way


But he knows exactly what’s standing in his way

Man City, though, may argue they have bigger fish to fry after booking their spot in the final with a 3-0 win over Sheffield United.

Pep Guardiola’s side could take another Premier League crown this season after making up huge ground to Arsenal, earning the right to have their fate back in their own hands with a win against the Gunners next time out.

Meanwhile in Europe, City made easy work of Bayern Munich in the quarter finals, and if they can beat Real Madrid in the final four, their first Champions League crown may be on its way with a Milan club waiting in Istanbul.

In between those two events will be the FA Cup, and the chance to seal a treble that has only ever been achieved once before by an English side.

That was done by Sir Alex Ferguson’s team in 1999, and no one has come close since, but City may be the best bet, sticking the knife into their rivals just as they were appearing to be on the rise under Erik ten Hag.

The Dutchman, though, knows exactly what is at stake, as he told talkSPORT.

United’s treble could finally be at risk


United’s treble could finally be at risk

“We want to win the final, it’s all about that,” he said. “We already showed this season that we can beat them.

“We also had a strong defeat, but we showed in our home game that we can beat them, but everything has to be perfect.

“I understand the fans very well, but we have to focus on that game against City when the time is there and give the best performance and prepare so we win that game.”

One of his star players against Brighton, Luke Shaw, wouldn’t be too drawn on the subject, but admitted the dressing room is already excited.

Ten Hag has a win and a defeat so far against City

Richard Pelham / The Sun

Ten Hag has a win and a defeat so far against City

“I don’t think we need any more incentive than we should have,” he explained. “The motivation to win should be higher than ever, it’s a trophy we want to win and it’s a game that’s going to be a special one.

“Manchester derbies are already special but even more so when there’s a trophy at the end of it, and everyone in the dressing room is looking forward to playing in it.”

But as Shaw and Ten Hag almost certainly already know, it’s not just a trophy on the line, but history too.

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