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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola focused on semi-final success

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola focused on semi-final success
By PA Sport

22/01/2018 at 11:27Updated 22/01/2018 at 12:28

Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Eliaquim Mangala are all expected to play in the Carabao Cup clash at Bristol City.

Pep Guardiola has hinted at changes ahead of Manchester City’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Bristol City – but insists his focus is on victory.

The runaway Premier League leaders hold a slender advantage over their Championship opponents ahead of Tuesday’s clash at Ashton Gate having edged their first encounter 2-1 a fortnight ago.

City boss Guardiola wants to field a strong side to secure a place in next month’s Wembley final but is conscious of the demands on his players as he juggles the challenges of four competitions.

Ilkay Gundogan could feature at Ashton Gate

Guardiola said: “Of course we are going to try to see the best team as possible but then Bernardo Silva, (Ilkay) Gundogan, (Eliaquim) Mangala will not be able to play and that will not be fair. I will say we are going to go there and try and win the game and go to the final.”

Second-choice goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who has featured in all domestic cup matches this season and starred in two penalty shoot-out victories, is another likely to feature.

Veteran midfielder Yaya Toure and youngsters Brahim Diaz and Oleksandr Zinchenko may also play.

Zinchenko, a 21-year-old attacking midfielder, has made six appearances this season, mostly as a left-back through necessity, and impressed on his first Premier League start against Newcastle on Saturday.

The Ukrainian hopes to make the most of his opportunity but is not expecting an easy night against the Robins.

He said: “It’s a big pleasure to be part of this team. Before, when I didn’t play for a long time it was not so easy but I had to be professional and wait for my chance.

Zinchenko hopes to make the most of his first-team opportunities

“This season is not so easy but we can win every title. We have to keep going and we are on the right path.

“Now we have to think about Bristol. We already know about them as the first game was not so easy.

“They defended well and at Bristol it will be a more difficult game. (Manchester) United losing there was a surprise for us but, to be honest, everyone who watched the game could see Bristol City played well. They have shown us they can beat us.”

City’s 3-1 victory over Newcastle on Saturday saw them back to winning ways after defeat at Liverpool and maintain a 12-point lead at the top of the table.

Guardiola did not immediately turn his attention to Bristol City as he carried out media duties, but said that would soon change as he enjoyed his post-match drink.

He said: “Normally I don’t think about what we are going to do next (straight away). After my glass of red wine, a little bit of alcohol in my body, my focus is much better. After we are going to decide what is the best.”

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