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Gareth Barry: Man City must win trophies every season

MIDFIELDER Gareth Barry believes trophyless years should now be the exception rather than the norm at Manchester City.

City moved within a game of claiming a third major piece of silverware in three years after holding off Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley to book a date with Wigan in next month's FA Cup final.

That would earn the club considerable consolation after a disappointing title defence in the Barclays Premier League and a failure to make an impression in Europe.

The situation represents a remarkable transformation for an outfit that had gone 35 years without success prior to winning the FA Cup in 2011.

Barry said: "We knew this was the realistic chance of a trophy this year.

"Where the club is now, you don't really want seasons going past without winning a trophy.

"The FA Cup is a massive one. If we can win that, fantastic.

"Wembley is a fantastic place to come and play. The big players, as we have seen over the last few years, when we come to semi-finals and finals, they generally turn up and do the business.

"Hopefully they can continue that until the final."

City were good value for their victory over a jaded Chelsea side after dominating the first hour of the contest, scoring through the impressive pair of Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero.

But a superb hooked reply from Demba Ba just after the hour transformed the atmosphere and forced City to defend resolutely.

Back-up goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, again preferred to Joe Hart for this competition, made some brave interventions and City breathed again when Fernando Torres was denied a late penalty for a shirt pull by Vincent Kompany.

When asked if City were hanging on, Barry said: "You probably could use 'hanging on' because the ball kept coming back at us.

"It was a massive effort. We are obviously delighted to get through.

"The second half was a big struggle. We dominated the first half but fair play to Chelsea.

"They have played a lot of games but they didn't tire, they kept going right until the end."

Aguero headed the second goal from a Barry cross early in the second half and was a constant threat to Chelsea along with Nasri, Carlos Tevez and Yaya Toure.

It was a highly effective performance from the Argentinian, who had been a doubtful starter prior to the game after a recent knee injury, but he was at the centre of controversy late on.

Aguero caught David Luiz in a two-footed challenge for which he was not even booked, although a free-kick was awarded.

Barry highlighted the positive aspects of the striker's performance, which came after he scored a stunning winner against Manchester United last week.

The 32-year-old said: "It was a fantastic header and he deserved that for his performance.

"He didn't stop running, like the rest of the lads. We really dug in and for 'Kun', it was a fitting goal to win the game."

Defender Pablo Zabaleta was surprised by the manner of his countryman's goal.

The right-back, who has probably been City's best player this season, said: "A great goal from a header! I am surprised to see Sergio scoring with a header but it was a fantastic header and a great cross by Gareth Barry.

"It was an important goal, early in the second half. We were 2-0 and it was good for us to keep the result.

"We know how important the FA Cup is. It is a massive competition and a team like Manchester City want to keep winning a trophy every year."

Zabaleta did not want to pick out many individual performances in what had been a fine all-round effort.

The 28-year-old said: "That is why I always say we have got fantastic players in the team - good names - but we also show a great spirit. We fight for each other.

"When we show that spirit and everyone gives everything for each other Manchester City are a difficult team to beat.

"We showed that and that is why I am really happy."

PA Media