LONDON (Reuters) - The celebrations had not even started but Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany was already thinking about next season as he reflected on a third Premier League title on Sunday.
Kompany, like most others, was caught on the hop by West Bromwich Albion’s shock victory at Manchester United, a result that meant City were confirmed as champions with a record-equalling five games remaining.
While talking of his pride at captaining City to a third Premier League title since he joined the club, the 32-year-old Belgian also issued a challenge to his team mates.
No club has won back-to-back Premier League titles since United claimed three in a row from 2006 to 2009, and the previous three champions suffered post-title slumps.
Such is the competitive nature of England’s top flight, and the spending power of all 20 clubs, that following up appears to be getting harder and harder.
There is a sense that Pep Guardiola’s expensively-assembled side could be entering a period of domination, however, and Kompany says that is the next target for the squad.
“You can’t take it for granted,” he told Sky Sports on Sunday. “I’ve been lucky to win three titles but so many I’ve missed as well. Today I’m happy.
“But my team mates might roll their eyes when I say this: I want to see how the reaction is going to be now. I’ve never been able to retain the title and want to see if this team has got it to carry on and be even more successful.”
Kompany, whose return to regular fitness has been a key factor in City’s success this season, said there could be no talk of domination after they won a first league title since 2014.
But he said Guardiola’s hunger and desire to get better had rubbed off on all the players, including himself.
“The desire to never be satisfied has transferred to the team,” Kompany said. “We want to stay humble about the fact that it’s not a dynasty... it’s one title and there is still so much work to be done before the full potential is unlocked.”
Kompany’s third title has been a breeze compared to the previous two.
Under Roberto Mancini in 2012 they clinched it with a last-gasp Sergio Aguero winner at Queens Park Rangers on the final day of the season while in 2014 under Manuel Pellegrini it also went down to the wire.
This time they have secured the title with five games to spare after a season in which they have never been challenged, losing just twice and scoring 93 goals thus far.
“The difference is that we were consistent the whole season and played at the level we are expected to perform at,” Kompany said. “In other times we nearly threw it away.”
Editing by Clare Fallon