It’s that time again. Manchester City travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in a repeat of the 2010 League Cup semi-final. Earlier this season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men beat City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium, after a quick-fire double from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Pep Guardiola faced the media before this one – here are the main talking points:
Pep Guardiola on the Carabao Cup
Manchester City have reached the semi-final in the past three years of the Carabao Cup. But Manchester United are a different type of opponent, and some may remember we were actually knocked out by the same opposition in Guardiola’s first season. The manager however, is excited:
“It’s nice to be here [Semi-Finals] again. Once we arrive in the semi-finals we have to try to win it. Not just the first game – it’s two-legged. We’ll try to play good.”
“Three semi-finals in a row. It’s not the biggest but it’s nice to be here again. We have to try to win it. It was important in the first season, the next two and this one. Nothing has changed.”
“Against United, a top club, you can win and lose games. I didn’t come here and expect to beat Man Utd all the time. We’ve beaten them more than we lose in the regular season. That is important.”
What to expect from United
Manchester United came to the Etihad and picked off Manchester City on the counter-attack earlier in the season. But Pep Guardiola knows the strengths they have on the attack and the history this fixture has:
“I didn’t expect to always beat Man United, but we beat them more times than we lose. I know for the years I was not here, we were the noisy neighbours. Now I don’t know what we are.”
“We are a good team. I don’t have a theory. The game we lost in the league we played one of the best half I ever played in 2018, we could have won by a bigger margin but they recovered in the second half…“
Pep Guardiola also believes his rivals are gelling as a squad:
“I have the feeling that they’re starting to play the way he wants. The last game against Arsenal we saw clearly what he wants. It’s not easy to take over a big club that’s always demanding to be involved in the competition.”
“How fast they are. How solid and aggressive. We conceded a few counter-attacks and in just a few seconds they were in the box.”
Leroy the only one out
Pep Guardiola confirmed that Aymeric Laporte is back in full training with the squad and Leroy Sané is now the only player sidelined. Laporte seems to be in the final stages of his recovery from a knee injury that’s kept him out since the game against Brighton in September.
What’s our most important game?
In recent years, Liverpool has became the most important game for Manchester City in footballing terms, but Guardiola knows for the fans, there’s nothing bigger than the Manchester Derby:
“In England there are many top teams. The derby is important for our fans – I know exactly what it means to them – but the other top teams are important.”
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