Pep Guardiola wary of Manchester United threat despite semi-final lead

sportsmole.co.uk, 28 January 2020, 18:33

Pep Guardiola has warned that Manchester United still possess "incredible weapons" ahead of Wednesday's Carabao Cup semi-final second leg.

City outplayed United when the sides met at Old Trafford in the first leg earlier this month, winning 3-1.

The scoreline could easily have been even more convincing, such was City's dominance, but Guardiola is not taking anything for granted for the return at the Etihad Stadium.

The City manager said: "The team is good. They have weapons and an enormous big squad and quality there.

"I have incredible respect for their history, for Man United as a club. They can do it.

"We have to make the right approach, take the right decisions in the way we want to play and try to reach another final, that is our goal.

"They have positional play and attacking play. They have quality in the middle, especially with (Juan) Mata, (Jesse) Lingard - they are big talents.

"They have incredible players up front. OK, no (Marcus) Rashford but they have (Anthony) Martial and (Daniel) James and a good quality of players in the middle like (Mason) Greenwood.

"At set-pieces they have (Victor) Lindelof, (Harry) Maguire, (Nemanja) Matic, strong and good full-backs with (Aaron) Wan-Bissaka and (Luke) Shaw, a good goalkeeper, an international. They have incredible weapons."

United beat City last time the sides met at the Etihad, in the Premier League, in December, using the counter-attack to formidable effect.

Guardiola said: "When they defend deep they can run in three or four seconds. We experienced that, not just the day we came and lost here in the Premier League, but the season with Mourinho was the same.

"They were incredible on the counter-attack. You have to try and control them."

City are bidding to win the League Cup for a third year in succession and a fifth time in seven seasons.

The competition is often derided, and Guardiola himself even suggested it should be scrapped recently to ease fixture congestion, but he insists it is being taken very seriously.

He said: "It's special for us to reach another final, that is the important thing. For the fans it's important, I know how they feel.

"But I try to be calm and not be overexcited or you forget what you have to do. Focus on what you have to do. It's important for our players, for the United players too, for our fans as well.

"We want to be together in our stadium. In the bad moments they support us and we'll do everything we have done so far since we arrived here (to try to) reach another final."

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