Belfast Telegraph

Pep says trophy can boost City's charge on multiple fronts

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany lifts the Carabao Cup
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany lifts the Carabao Cup

By Jonathan Veal

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola hopes winning the Carabao Cup can give his side fresh confidence in their quest for the quadruple.

City beat Chelsea 4-3 on penalties after 120 goalless minutes at Wembley in a game that was overshadowed by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga's refusal to be substituted in extra time.

Guardiola's side, who also won the Community Shield in August, went on to win their third League Cup in four seasons and they still hope to further furnish their trophy cabinet this season with the Premier League, the Champions League and the FA Cup.

That might be a stretch as City, who are back in action against West Ham on Wednesday, suffered a double injury blow, with Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho both coming off with problems that Guardiola expects to keep them out for "weeks".

As well as winning the first silverware of the season they were also boosted in the Premier League title race after Liverpool dropped two points in a goalless draw at Manchester United.

"Of course (it can give momentum)," Guardiola said. "It's the only country where you can win a title in February.

"We have three more to play: the Premier League, the cup and Champions League. Now it's about how the players are, how tired they will be against West Ham on Wednesday.

"But it's important for the mood, 'OK, guys, we have two titles already in our basket, the Community Shield and today'.

"Winning the game is important for the enthusiasm for the next game, but this competition is demanding a lot.

"We will suffer a lot for the next competitions, the cup and the Champions League and Premier League. Winning the title will help us for our mood going forward."

On the injuries to Laporte and Fernandinho, the City chief added: "Laporte felt something in the last action of the first half, and Fernandinho felt something muscular. So I think it will be weeks out."

The destination of the Carabao Cup was in the balance until the last kick of the game as Raheem Sterling scored the decisive penalty after Jorginho and David Luiz missed.

For large parts of the game it was attack versus defence as Chelsea set up with no intention of allowing a repeat of their 6-0 humiliation at the Etihad Stadium a couple of weeks ago.

Guardiola's side struggled to create clear-cut chances, though, and Maurizio Sarri's men came into the game in the second half of extra time.

"Well, it was a tight game," Guardiola admitted. "Congratulations to Chelsea. I'm impressed with the way they defended.

"They're one of the toughest teams I've faced in my career.

"We suffered in the last 20 minutes because our legs were very tired after the injury situations. We won but we could have lost after the injuries we had in that game.

"We knew they'd have pride, and it wouldn't be like two weeks ago. They didn't press too high.

"It was a final, difficult for both teams. Similar to the Stamford Bridge game, where we lost, where they closed the sides."

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