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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Tuesday, January 23rd 2018

Bristol City showed quality over two legs - Guardiola

Pep Guardiola lavished praise on City after Lee Johnson’s gallant side were edged out over two legs by the runaway Premier League leaders in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup.

As they had done in the first leg, Guardiola’s side left it late to snatch victory on the night, with Kevin De Bruyne’s injury-time strike deciding a five-goal thriller at a galvanised Ashton Gate.

Earlier, Leroy Sane’s first-half effort and a lethal finish from Sergio Aguero had put the visitors in a commanding position, before Marlon Pack and Aden Flint gave the hosts a glimmer of hope late on.

But De Bruyne’s 94th-minute goal - applying the finishing touches to a sweeping counter attack - sealed the deal and secured a 5-3 aggregate victory for Guardiola’s men, with the Citizens boss full of praise for Johnson’s charges.

“We have a lot of respect for Bristol (City), what they have done and how they play,” he said at the post-match press conference.

“We knew that every time Claudio (Bravo) had the ball they would press high, because they did it at [the Etihad].

“We arrived here in the semi-final after two penalty rounds and in the game against Wolves, Claudio made three one-on-one saves. So, we know it’s a tough competition.

“Bristol City showed their talent in the first leg in Manchester. Today, we were much better - we were outstanding in the way we played and that’s why we are so happy.

“We knew exactly what sort of team we were going to have to beat, because they’ve knocked out four teams from the Premier League, so it means a lot.”

CITY TIPPED FOR THE TOP

Guardiola also backed City to be in the mix for promotion to the Premier League come May, after showcasing top-flight quality over the two legs.

“I think the Championship season never ends, it’s 300,000,000 games to get to the Premier League. But the titles arrive in the last eight to 10 games, if you’re there after that and finish well, you can do it.

“Of course, for quality, for the manager, for the way they play, they can do it.”

FULL COVERAGE ON BCTV