The Burton Albion boss saw his side fare admirably against a star-studded Red Devils side in 2006, but expects a bigger test against Pep Guardiola
Manchester City’s class of 2019 present Burton Albion with a tougher test than a Manchester United side which included Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo did, says Nigel Clough.
Back in 2006, the Brewers were handed a dream FA Cup third round meeting with the Red Devils.
A non-league side at the time, Clough’s troops held Sir Alex Ferguson’s star-studded team to a 0-0 draw on home soil – setting up a lucrative replay at Old Trafford.
Burton are now preparing to face the other heavyweights from Manchester in a two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final.
They may be a League One outfit, having only slipped out of the Championship last season, but Clough is aware that the reigning Premier League champions will be his biggest challenge yet.
A man who tasted League Cup glory in his playing days with Nottingham Forest told reporters when asked which is harder, facing United or City: “I think this one over two legs.
“I think the pitch is going to be a bit better this time around, if anybody remembers the pitch against Manchester United!
“But we’re facing similar sorts of tasks.
“When Rooney and Ronaldo came on after 59 minutes here for Manchester United, it’s a similar sort of prospect with the likes of the quality that Manchester City have.
“But away from home, it’s a different thing. When they are on their own patch, as you saw against Liverpool, they’re as good and as confident as anything.
“That’s when they’ve come off a relatively poor period for them, they’ve lost a couple of matches recently and then they can still play like they did against Liverpool and keep the title race open.
“That says an awful lot about them.”
Whatever happens at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, and in a return date at the Pirelli Stadium on January 22, Clough is already rightly proud of what his third tier underdogs have achieved.
The ex-England international added: “Honestly, we are just looking forward to enjoying the experience.
“Nobody gives us much of a chance and rightly so but it’s just about the players, everybody, talking about supporters, who have been following the club for 50-60 years never dreamt of us being in a League Cup semi-final.
“Let’s all everybody as one go and enjoy it.
“Every game you have got a chance. It’s just what degree that chance is and ours is extremely thin but there is always a chance in football.”