Belfast Telegraph

Underdogs relishing bid to tame City, insists Neil

Mixed week: Bernardo Silva en route to his treble against Watford but he’s now in hot water
Mixed week: Bernardo Silva en route to his treble against Watford but he’s now in hot water

By Robert Jones

Preston manager Alex Neil has described facing Manchester City as a "frightening prospect" but he is relishing the opportunity to play against the Carabao Cup holders.

Pep Guardiola's men begin the defence of their trophy at Deepdale tonight, arriving on the back of an 8-0 demolition of Watford at the weekend.

Some may have hoped for an easier draw, but Neil is looking forward to the third-round tie and admitted he wanted to face one of the big teams.

"It's going to be a tough test for us but we're going to embrace it," said the Scot. "They're a frightening prospect, I've watched the highlights from Saturday and it was 8-0 going on 15 or 16-0.

"It's like a hurricane coming at you, you know what's coming. But we need to try and restrain them as much as possible.

"They're one of, if not the best in the world and operate at the top level, so there is no pressure on us. We're not turning up to shake Pep's hand and say thank you for coming to Deepdale.

"We wanted one of the best, we've got our wish and I hope I don't regret it."

Meanwhile, City forward Bernardo Silva should face action over a tweet directed at team-mate Benjamin Mendy, anti-discrimination group Kick It Out has said.

The Portugal international posted a message on Twitter with a picture of a young Mendy alongside a separate image of the mascot of a Spanish confectionery brand.

Silva received immediate criticism for the post and later deleted it, with a follow-up message reading: "Can't even joke with a friend these days... You guys..."

Kick It Out issued a statement on the subject yesterday morning which read: "We are extremely disappointed to see the tweet posted by Bernardo Silva, which has since been deleted.

"Racist stereotypes are never acceptable as 'banter', and we're shocked that someone who is a role model to millions has failed to understand the discriminatory nature of his post.

"The FA have been notified and we believe that retrospective action should be taken, including mandatory education - which is vital to challenge offensive behaviour such as this."

The post comes after initial meetings were held between the Football Association, Premier League, the EFL and Twitter following a series of online abuse aimed at black players since the start of the season.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are among the players who have been targeted, along with Chelsea's Tammy Abraham and Kurt Zouma.

The FA described the meeting as "productive and positive".

City have been contacted for a response.

Silva, speaking after the 8-0 Premier League rout of Watford, says the club have no intention of easing up against Preston.

Boss Guardiola is likely to make a number of changes for the third-round tie but playmaker Silva, who scored a hat-trick on Saturday, claims there will be no complacency on their part, saying: "We want to win, but we are away to a team that - I have checked - are doing well this season.

"People sometimes think games against Championship teams are easy, but they're not.

"In the last two seasons, some of the most difficult games we have had were against teams from the Championship, and in our first season we were knocked out of the FA Cup by Wigan from League One.

"We are not going to relax, we will give our best as usual."

Preston are one of the Championship's form sides and are third in the table as they look to return to the top flight for the first time since 1961. They have beaten Bradford and Hull to reach the third round.

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