Pep Guardiola hoping to complete Wembley hat-trick next month
Arsenal or Chelsea await Manchester City in the February 25 League Cup final.
Pep Guardiola is hoping to complete a Wembley hat-trick next month after Manchester City’s quadruple ambitions were kept alive by safe passage into the Carabao Cup final.
Guardiola’s side secured a 5-3 aggregate triumph over Bristol City after beating the Sky Bet Championship outsiders 3-2 at Ashton Gate on Tuesday night.
City will now play either Arsenal or Chelsea at Wembley on February 25 – a stadium which holds special resonance for Guardiola after Barcelona were crowned kings of Europe there twice during his time at the club.
Congrats on your 500th game in management, boss! 👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/81BHyYRHGO— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 23, 2018
Guardiola played in Barcelona’s first European Cup success at the old Wembley in 1992, and he was in charge when they beat Manchester United at the rebuilt stadium in 2011.
“It is a special place for my career, as a football player I won in the old Wembley when Barcelona won the Champions League for the first time,” Guardiola said.
“I also won there as a manager, but it is not just special for me. It is special for all of us at Manchester City.
“We are so happy to be in the final, it is an achievement for everybody.”
Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero rewarded City’s dominance and put them in cruise control with goals either side of the interval.
But Marlon Pack and Aden Flint levelled to send a 26,000 sell-out Ashton Gate crowd into raptures.
Kevin De Bruyne, however, had the last word as he restored City’s lead on the night with the final kick of the match.
“I think we played amazing in the first half, but we lost control,” added Guardiola, who said he was unsure whether England defender Kyle Walker had broken his nose after receiving a kick on it late on.
“Maybe that will be good for the Champions League against Basel, it shows that 90 minutes is too long and anything can happen.
“Last season we were in the semi-final of the FA Cup and I am delighted to be in the final.
“It is a competition which demands a lot and takes a lot of energy when you are playing Premier League and other matches.
“It is tough on your mentality, but once we arrive in the semi-final we have to try and get to the final.
“I am pleased to be there and hopefully we will arrive in a good condition.”
Bristol City still have much to play for this season as they are currently in the Championship play-off positions and chasing promotion to the Premier League.
But manager Lee Johnson paid tribute to his players after a memorable cup run which saw them knock out four Premier League clubs – Watford, Crystal Palace, Stoke and Manchester United.
“I’m very proud, not just of the team but of the club,” Johnson said.
“It’s been a fantastic run, which unfortunately has come to an end against a top side.
“The fact is, it’s taken two injury-time goals in both legs to beat us.
“Although they had the lion’s share of the possession, I thought we continued to show our spirit.”