Gareth Barry: We don't want to feel like this next season

Manchester City stalwart says FA Cup and second place is only 'level par'

For most clubs the season's prime targets have already been missed, while others are reduced to inventing new, more modest ones. At Manchester City, Champions' League dreams lasted no time at all and retaining the Premier League title proved equally over-ambitious. But they should be in the top two for only the ninth time in their history and they can still claim the FA Cup.

"If we can win the Cup then probably the season would be on level par," says Gareth Barry, which is a reflection of the club's new status. So much is expected of them now that such a double feat might just keep the manager in a job.

It all adds up to the sort of pressure that Barry expected – indeed craved – when he moved to Manchester as one of the first of a new wave of major signings four summers ago. The first trophy took two years but was regarded as critical in boosting confidence for the second, achieved in such dramatic fashion on the final day of last season. Failure to improve further means that, whatever happens against Wigan Athletic at Wembley in three weeks' time, there will be a sense of failure about the campaign's two greater priorities.

"The feeling in the dressing room at Old Trafford last week was that we were delighted to have won there again, but the performance showed that the gap in points [behind Manchester United] wasn't realistic," Barry said. "The frustration was certainly there about what could have been. You have to hold your hands up to the relentless way United have been this season, the way they've clocked up the points and shown their experience.

"I think the Champions' League is probably the most disappointing thing, failing to get out of the group. If you look at the strength of that group, especially with the two teams coming out of it and getting to the semi-finals [Dortmund and Real Madrid], it shows how strong it was, but this club has players who are good enough for challenging to the quarter- and semi-finals and getting to the final. We don't want that feeling at the end of next season, so there's lessons to be learnt." Barry's form during the campaign has left him "pretty happy", and for the longer term he is "pretty relaxed" about a contract that has only one more year to run from June. "I am happy here and very settled. I spent 12 years at one club [Aston Villa] and I've spent four years at City and I'm not really one for moving around. I'd like to stay as long as possible."

Settled he may be, as a first choice for one of the two defensive midfield berths for his club, but his country have stopped calling, just as they did for four long years under Sven Goran Eriksson. Barry was actually wearing the captain's armband when he last appeared, limping off in a friendly against Norway last May with an injury that would discount him from contention for Euro 2012. Since then, Roy Hodgson recalled Michael Carrick and Scott Parker and decided that with Steven Gerrard to fit in as well, he must leave some room for the younger generation, as represented by Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverley.

"Gareth's not been with us for a while but he's still doing well for Man City," was Hodgson's last recorded opinion of Barry, while the player insists: "I've certainly not given up on England. I've been disappointed not to make the squads in the previous games. Next [World Cup] year will be a big year for a lot of players, so touch wood I can stay fit and play regularly to force my way back in."

Today's game at Tottenham would be a good one in which to catch the eye, whether or not Barry finds himself up against the player he voted for in the recent PFA ballot, Gareth Bale. "Playing a Spurs team without Gareth Bale does enhance your chances of winning because he is such a great player. It's a huge game for Spurs because they are going for that third or fourth position. They have got six cup finals to get as many points as possible. We know going there is going to be a real test."

As for the one genuine Cup final, a lucky 1-0 win over Wigan in midweek has convinced him not to be complacent. "If we don't take the FA Cup home it will be a slightly disappointing season. The players won't be happy with that and that's why the game against Wigan is massive.

"It's something I said to some of the lads after the game on Wednesday night, that it was a pretty big wake-up call for the club, the fans and the players and showed what a tough game the final will be."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific