Manchester City will be taking another baby-step in the direction of the much talked about and slightly unrealistic quadruple when they take on Bristol City in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final. The Premier League heavyweights have been on song domestically as well as in Europe and are in a very good space on the field and off it.
But Pep is a seasoned champion and he will know not to look too far ahead and be in the present and focus on the task at hand. And he said the same in the pre-match conference yesterday:
“We are going to try to win the game, take the best result possible, then go to Bristol away with the best result – that’s the only way I know,” he said.
“The important thing is to be involved in all competitions and we are there as well as other teams. Chelsea are in the same position, they’re in them all.
“We have to be involved in everything. From my experience in Barcelona when we won the treble, in January you cannot talk about it, it’s unrealistic.
“In sport, the most important thing is what’s next. Visualise, focus on what’s next. If you look far away: big mistake.”
The Sky Blues should not take Bristol lightly as the fact that they have knocked out Manchester United is a testament to their capability to causing more upsets in the competition. The first leg will be played at the Etihad and Pep will look to carry a handsome lead into the away leg and not keep things hanging.
Manchester City will miss the services of Phil Foden, Vincent Kompany and Gabriel Jesus and with the all-important clash against Liverpool in mind, might keep a number of first-team players on the bench.
Bristol City will miss the services of long-term absentees Jens Hegeler, Gary O’Neil, Callum O’Dowda and Ivan Lucic.
PREDICTED MANCHESTER CITY XI (4-3-3)
Claudio Bravo is expected to keep his place in goal and will look to have a calmer game than the one against Burnley. Danilo is expected to feature at right-back while Mangala and Stones are likely to be the centre-back pairing. Zinchenko will continue at left-back.
Yaya Toure is expected to feature and will look to run the midfield show with his passing and assuredness on the ball. Gundogan might get another start and Pep will bank on him to work his magic once again. Kevin De Bruyne did not start against Burnley and is in line for a start and will probably play the first 60 minutes.
The front three, in all probability, will comprise of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva. Sergio Aguero needs a rest after featuring regularly over the past month and the young trio has proved itself before that it can shoulder the goalscoring burden.