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."

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn