Gareth Barry will treat Manchester City’s clash with Chelsea as an FA Cup final on Sunday.
Having defeated neighbours United at Old Trafford for a second successive season on Monday night, the Sky Blues have now turned their attention to the coming weekend when they come face-to-face with Rafael Benitez’s men at Wembley in a mouth-watering FA Cup semi-final.
City will be looking to lift the trophy for the second time in three years, having ended a 35-year silverware drought to triumph in 2011, whilst Chelsea are the reigning holders and have enjoyed great success in the competition in recent years, winning it four times in the last six years.
It is widely thought amongst supporters and pundits that the winner of Sunday’s tie will go on to win the cup, as their opponents in the final will either be Premier League strugglers Wigan Athletic or Millwall, who are currently just five points clear of the Championship relegation zone.
And Barry certainly thinks that defeating the Stamford Bridge club will almost certainly result in another honour for Roberto Mancini’s side. Indeed, the former Aston Villa midfielder will approach the semi-final as if the trophy itself were to be presented at the full-time whistle.
“It feels more like a final,” said the England international. “This is the bigger game of the two and if we can get through it this could be another FA Cup for us. I am looking forward to it. You want to be playing big games at this stage of the season, as this is, when they hand out the trophies.”
Although Barry is probably right in his assessment, his words could yet come back and haunt him. For if City do make the final next month, Roberto Martinez or Kenny Jackett will at least have the first part of their team-talk written for them…