Another Manchester Derby in the Carabao Cup semi-final today. Manchester City will take on Manchester United to play in the final of the competition for 4 consecutive times. Manchester City is the champions of this competition in the last 3 seasons.
Last season they beat Manchester United in the semi-final. This year it is a chance for the Red Devils to take revenge on their ‘noisy neighbours’.
Manchester United is in excellent form this season. They are now the joint leaders of the Premier League table with Liverpool with 33 points with a game in hand. On the other hand, after a tough start in the 2020-21 season, Manchester City is now slowly picking up the pace again.
Manchester United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is happy to have enough practice sessions before the Manchester Derby. Manchester United beat Aston Villa by 2-1 on Friday night. Whereas, Manchester City had to wait until Sunday evening to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. City beat Chelsea by 3-1.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, “Well, you have two teams who want to get to the final. We’ve had four days now after Villa so, hopefully, we’ve got more fresh legs.”
“It’s a difficult season, but I think we’ll benefit from the rotation we’ve made. I thought it was going to be important anyway this season, having fresh legs. You could see that with City against Chelsea: the number of fresh legs, intensity and sharpness, after the break, they had.”
“It showed, and that was a quality game – physically, one of the more intense games there’s been in the league this season. I don’t think that’s a surprise there because they had a few extra days to prepare for that one.”
Ole is very happy with his team’s progression in the last few months or so. He said, “I’ve seen progress and sometimes the results don’t show the whole picture of the game. Some of our counter-attacking goals in the wins that we’ve had have been brilliant.”
“Away in the league, when we won, we could have scored four or five in a 10-15-minute period. The counter-attacks were just out of this world. But we’ve had less control of the ball and defended fantastically.”
He also showed his respect for the opposition team. He said,
“Two teams that want to go through. I think the last game [December’s Manchester derby, which ended 0-0] showed two teams with respect for each other. They weren’t as much possession-based against Chelsea, they were more counter-attacking. They’ve got quick players on the break – of course, we have to be aware of that, as well as their possession game.”
But the situation is not the same for Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola. His team is in great form. But he does not have ‘enough players’ in the squad. Manchester City has seen six players test positive recently. Gabriel Jesus, Kyle Walker and Eric Garcia, and 3 more players are in self-isolation now.
Pep said to SkySports, “We don’t have many players. To play one, two games are okay but if sustained for a long time – and you can use just 14 or 15 players – it will be more difficult.”
“But like everyone in the world, we have to adjust in our lives and our profession as much as possible. We don’t have an alternative.”
“The important thing is the guys who have Covid recover well and the others try to avoid it as much as possible.”
Pep also said that it is always an honor to play against Manchester United.
“United has always been a big club. When I faced them with Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and here, it was always important.”
“It is a rivalry in the city and for many decades United was above Manchester City. For us, we are incredibly proud and it is an honor for the last decade to be there with them and sometimes win, most of the times, and sometimes lose.”- he added.
Fans are waiting to witness another mouth-watering clash between two rivals.