Guardiola warns Man City ´to be careful´ as United eye cup comeback
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Pep Guardiola has urged his Manchester City players to keep their cool in the heat of Wednesday’s derby against Manchester United as they bid to seal a place in the EFL Cup final.
Armed with a 3-1 lead from the first leg at Old Trafford, City approach the return fixture in the semi-final as firm favourites to reach the March 1 showpiece at Wembley.
However, City know all too well how potent United can be on their day, having suffered a home league defeat to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men in December.
Guardiola vowed he and his team have never been complacent, and he is optimistic that attitude will be enough to deliver an aggregate success.
“It’s Man United. They can do it and have done it,” Guardiola said. “In this kind of game, against this kind of team, with this incredible history, they have pride and I know, I know how difficult it would be to reach the final.”
Speaking about the need to concentrate against neighbours who have endured a difficult Premier League campaign so far, Guardiola indicated he trusted his players to bring the right application.
“Never was my team complacent during four years – never,” he said. “We have to be careful about their skills, we have to be careful about the counter-attack, we have to be careful about the set-pieces, we have to be careful about how good they can play if we let them play.
“We will have to defend. They don’t have anything to lose so they are going to attack. We will have to control our emotions. We have to try to score goals.”
We want to finish the job tomorrow
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 28, 2020
Asked about possible squad rotation, a fired-up Guardiola stressed managers should be allowed to select their teams as they feel appropriate.
That issue has picked up traction in the wake of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp saying it would be the club’s under-23 side that face Shrewsbury in their FA Cup fourth-round replay at Anfield, given the first team will be taking their mid-season break.
“Listen,” Guardiola began. “We accept the schedules, the competitions, the games every two or three days, but don’t tell the managers which selections you have to choose, please. It’s our job.”
City have a doubt over centre-back Aymeric Laporte but are expected to field a strong side, being eager to give United no hint of weakness.
They could have won by a greater margin at Old Trafford in the first leg, when Red Devils boss Solskjaer said City’s strong line-up was a sign of their “respect” for United.
Guardiola said in Tuesday’s news conference: “I show respect for my opponents from day one, from when I started with the second team at Barcelona to today, sat in front of you here.
“I took that selection (at Old Trafford) and tomorrow I will take another selection.”