Man City can learn from Bristol City tie for Champions League - Pep Guardiola

By Tom GarryBBC Sport at Ashton Gate
Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola celebrated his 363rd victory in top-flight management in what was his 500th game

Manchester City can take lessons from the frantic finish to their Carabao Cup semi-final against Bristol City as they prepare for their Champions League return, says manager Pep Guardiola.

The Premier League leaders progressed to the final 5-3 on aggregate after a 3-2 second-leg win at Ashton Gate.

They looked to be cruising to victory but Bristol City fought back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2, before Kevin de Bruyne's 96th-minute goal settled it.

"We lost control," said Guardiola.

"We played amazing in the first half and in the second half until we led 2-0.

"But after we lost control, maybe it will be good for us, for the Champions League against Basel, to learn that you have to play for 90 minutes and anything can happen."

Basel host Manchester City for the first leg of the last-16 tie in the Champions League on 13 February.

'We'll be judged on the trophies we win'

Tuesday's win at Championship side Bristol City means Guardiola, who became Manchester City boss two years ago, is into his first final in English football.

It also keeps Manchester City on course to win four trophies this season.

With a 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League, they have won widespread praise for their style of play under Guardiola.

But the Spaniard says they will be judged on the silverware they win.

"Since the owners took over the team, they've achieved titles, but of course to grow up, you need those titles," he said.

"We will be judged on the titles we are able to win.

"But nobody can deny how happy we were in these past six or seven months. We've won a lot of games."

Manchester City have the chance to progress in another cup competition on Sunday when they travel to Championship side Cardiff City in the FA Cup fourth round, a fixture that is live on BBC One, online and BBC Radio 5 live from 15:35 GMT (16:00 kick off).

Guardiola added: "We are going to prepare completely different against Cardiff to how we prepared for Bristol City, because Cardiff, they play a lot of long balls."

De Bruyne felt his side were always in control on Tuesday, despite Bristol City's late fightback.

"The first game was difficult but I think we controlled it today," the midfielder told BBC Radio 5 live. "They didn't have a lot of chances and scored from two long balls. But the way they try to play is fantastic and a lot of people enjoy that type of football.

"Today we showed them we are ready to go to Wembley, to do our thing, and we're very happy with how we performed."

Manchester City
The last trophy Manchester City won was the League Cup in 2015-16

'Cup win vital, no matter the competition'

Danny Mills, former Manchester City defender at Ashton Gate for BBC Radio 5 live:

Pep Guardiola showed how important the Carabao Cup was to him with the team he picked on Tuesday night.

It was maybe two players off being his strongest line-up, and I was not surprised by that because he will be desperate to win his first trophy as City manager.

What that first trophy is does not really matter - look what this competition has meant to Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and Manchester United down the years.

Guardiola knows that winning something is vital because it cements the players' belief about how good they are, and that they are doing everything right.

We know how well City are playing but, to be a great team like the Arsenal and Manchester United sides from the past that they are being compared with, they have to go and win things to back that up.

Guardiola wants them to win as much as possible this season to prove they are the best, and his players have the same attitude.

That is what sets the good from the great, the desire and hunger to keep on producing performance after performance, and that is what has taken this City side to where they are now, with a chance of the quadruple.

They are going to win the Premier League and, if they win the Carabao Cup final too, that is basically two of the four ticked off before the start of March.

So at the very least a treble is well within reach for them.

The Champions League will obviously be the hardest thing to win but they have got a fantastic squad and a magnificent way of playing that is suited to European football.

And if they can wrap the Premier League up by early March then they can start to rest players for the Champions League as well and really concentrate on it.

Is it possible for them to win all four trophies? Yes, of course. With the talent they have got.

Is it likely? No, because they would have to go until the end of the season without being beaten in any of the cup competitions. This City side are not going to lose many games but, even so, it remains a huge ask.

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