Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has refused to rule out the prospect of leading his side to a clean sweep of trophies this season.
After a week in which the league leaders reached the Capital One Cup semi-finals with victory over Hull, Pellegrini maintained that while an unprecedented quadruple remains far from his mind, it is not impossible.
Pellegrini, who is set to restore goalkeeper Joe Hart to his starting line-up at Stoke after two weeks out with an ankle injury, said: “I think the best way to do it is not to think about it and stay focused on your next game.
“When you continue in all the competitions you have so many games, and really not thinking if we can win all four – the important thing is to continue with those options in every game you play.
“It always must be the target of the big clubs. We try to be a big club and to think as a big club, so of course it can be an option but we are not thinking about that.”
City’s progress in the domestic competitions as well as the UEFA Champions League has come at a price with the respective returns of Hart and David Silva off-set by further losses this week.
Sergio Aguero is out of the trip to Stoke with a heel injury, although Pellegrini is hopeful the Argentinian striker will be fit to return for the midweek Champions League clash with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Yaya Toure is out after suffering a muscle injury in training and Eliaquim Mangala is suspended, joining Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Samir Nasri on the sidelines.
While Pellegrini acknowledged the important role his whole squad has played in their successful season so far, he admitted the continuing absence of Kompany in particular was a blow to his squad.
Pellegrini added: “He (Kompany) is a very important player for our team. We don’t depend on him because we have other players who are doing well, but alwayas the team is better with Kompany.
“That’s why he is so important to our team. I hope after he recovers from this injury he can have a normal season because the team of course needs him.”
Pellegrini’s squad is likely to play an increasingly important role heading into a festive season which has been traditionally strong for City, as those stars continue to fight back from injury.
Pellegrini added: “You have to play so many games in December and January with the Capital One Cup and the FA Cup so it is very important to try to be as near to the top as possible.
“We are at the moment in a very good position and I don’t think anybody can have any doubts about the strength of our squad. It is important that when you don’t have the important players you have a squad that is able to play the same way, and I think that is what we are doing so far.”