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Adam Baker

Adam Baker writes

Posted Monday, January 8th 2018

In brief: Pre-Manchester City away press conference

Lee Johnson has met the media ahead of City's Carabao Cup semi-final first leg tie with Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

The head coach answered questions from the local and national press along with midfielder Korey Smith.

Here's what they had to say:

LEE JOHNSON

- Head coach speaks of his pride at how the players have performed this season.

- "This is a huge game for the football club and one we'll throw ourselves in to full steam," adds Johnson.

- City boss believes this Manchester City team will "etch itself in history as one of the greatest teams to have ever graced the pitches in England".

- Johnson says their opponents have "a great balance of youth, pace, strength and physicality".

- "They're human, even if they have world-class players in every position and world-class players behind that," he adds.

- Johnson believes the "real challenge" is "playing our game against their game".

- City boss says his players should have no fear because they are "in credit" in the competition.

- Johnson cites concentration as the key in both legs.

- Boss wants to steer clear of "wine talk", saying he would just like to talk to Pep Guardiola about "tactics and his career".

- Johnson praises Guardiola on how quickly he has been able to "fast-track" the Manchester City project, following on from success at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

- He grins: "The real challenge is going to Oldham and trying to do it on a £900,000-a-year budget…but I’m sure he’d do that as well."

- Asked about team selection, Johnson says: "I’ll pick the team that I believe has the best chance of winning the game. I have to do that because I owe it to the supporters and the history of the football club."

- On the record away following at the Etihad, City's head coach says: "It's fantastic and they'll go there believing. I'm sure many people (away from the football club) expected us to get beaten by Manchester United, but the dream is still alive."

KOREY SMITH

- Smith says he's watched the Manchester United winner from the quarter-final "quite a few times".

- Midfielder admits it will be tougher over two legs against Manchester City, but says it's important that City come back to Ashton Gate with a chance in the tie.

- "They're probably one of the best clubs in the world right now," is how Smith assesses the opposition.

- "We won't complain about playing the best team in the country twice - but no one is invincible," Smith adds.

- Midfielder says the players take confidence from beating four Premier League teams en route to the semi-finals

- Former Norwich City and Oldham Athletic midfielder says he would relish coming up against the stars of Manchester City.

- Smith thanks the supporters who have sold out the away end at the Etihad, saying: "They deserve this kind of game."

- Midfielder reveals he used to live around the corner from the Etihad when he was on the books at Oldham. "I used to drive past it every day," he adds.

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