Four goals from Gabriel Jesus helped the Citizens to a comprehensive victory over League One opposition
Pep Guardiola hailed Manchester City’s rampant performance in their 9-0 win over Burton Albion and welcomed the chance to rest his stars for the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.
Defending champions City’s place in next month’s final is all but secured even before the return leg of the last-four clash after Gabriel Jesus scored four goals in Wednesday’s rout.
Kevin De Bruyne, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez also found the net on a miserable night for League One Burton.
Guardiola was proud to see his side continue to look for goals despite having the match wrapped up with four at half-time and is now looking forward to giving some members of his squad a break in their hectic schedule.
“We are in the final,” the Spaniard told his post-match media conference. “Of course, we have to play the second game [and] we will take it seriously.
“Big congratulations to Burton for the tournament they have done, they have beaten teams from the Premier League and Championship, they deserve to be here.
“We scored the first goal quickly but the period between the first and second goal was not good, we didn’t control our right side, they had a clear chance at 1-0.
“But the difference with Premier League teams is the quality of the players and the rhythm. When you have high intensity for 90 minutes they [drop] and that’s why after the third and fourth goals it was easier.
“It was important to take advantage. We didn’t expect to score so many goals but it is good because we are in the final, that’s nice and to come back again means a lot for us.
“Every game is important, that is why we are satisfied to get back to Wembley.”
He added: “Of course we will play some of the second team and players who don’t play regularly [in the return leg], but in this incredible schedule we have a little bit of a break in that week to prepare for the other competitions.”
Nigel Clough was proud of Burton’s performance against the Premier League champions and urged his players not to get too disheartened and instead focus on their incredible run to the last four.
“I don’t think we could’ve done too much more with the quality that is out there,” he said. “They’re professional. They never ease off. They don’t just beat you, they annihilate you.
“We could do better with one or two but the gulf [in class] of the two teams is far too much to comprehend.
“We’re talking about [Manchester] United, Arsenal and Chelsea bridging the gap … we’ve got no chance.
“We’ll celebrate, it’s not about tonight: it’s about Burton Albion getting to the semi-final. We’ll probably never be here again and that is how big this achievement is. A lot of clubs have never reached one.”