A Raheem Sterling double sent Manchester City through to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals as Pep Guardiola’s side beat Burnley 3-0 at Turf Moor last night.
One step closer to retaining the League Cup, City bounced back from a weekend hammering in the Premier League, brushing off Sean Dyche’s Clarets with ease whilst visiting Lancashire.
Ferran Torres rounded off the evening with a third City goal, scoring his first for the club since joining from Valencia in August.
A positive and dominant performance was exactly what the boss ordered from his team as they successfully began their search for a fourth successive EFL Cup.
After the game, Guardiola gave his thoughts on the first clean sheet of the season. Here are his key points.
Guardiola Pleased With A Positive Response
Sat 13th in the Premier League table, yesterday’s cup clash was the perfect opportunity for City to re-group and to re-build momentum following a 5-2 defeat to Leicester at the Etihad on Sunday.
Fielding a strong side against Burnley in the Fourth Round, Guardiola was impressed by the performance:
“For the rhythm, these players wanted to play. It was a good response, this competition is special for us, the Carabao Cup. After our result [on Sunday] it was important,” he said.
Raheem Sterling Back On The Scoresheet
Scoring his first goal since City’s Champions League victory against Real Madrid at the beginning of August, Sterling proved to his manager that he is more than capable of filling the void left by the injured Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.
Opening his goal tally for the season with an instinctive first-time finish from a Benjamin Mendy cross, the Englishman secured City’s foothold in the match when picked out by Torres for his second.
Had it not been for Burnley goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Sterling would have almost certainly taken home the match ball.
Praising the forward, Guardiola was over the moon:
“Raheem has ability wherever he plays,” he said.
“I am incredibly delighted and happy with what he gives me personally, but also this team, since we arrived four years ago.
“I was convinced he was a guy with incredible qualities. He can play every three days, his recovery, his desire to improve - he is a fantastic guy."
“I think he has improved a lot since we arrived, with his work ethic and dedication. With his finishing he knows he can do more, but he’s grown up a lot.”
Instinctive Torres Impresses Guardiola
A threatening presence in the City attack all evening, Torres sealed off a comfortable victory with a well-executed composed finish. Settling quickly into English football, Guardiola highlighted the Spaniard’s intelligence:
“He is a young player and still needs a little bit of time to understand what we want to do. He is clever in the final third with his passes. He doesn’t cross to cross. He passes the ball,” he said.
Guardiola Pays Tribute To Nicolas Otamendi
Joining Benfica on Tuesday evening, Nicolas Otamendi progressed in his career and left behind a forever grateful manager. An integral part of the success achieved by Guardiola’s City; the Catalan thanked the Argentine for the part he played in winning two Premier League’s:
“He was part of our incredible success and consistency. He is an incredibly nice guy and, especially the season we won the Premier League with 100 points, he was the key player for us!"
“In the back four he was incredible. We thought we needed a young squad. He is now more than 30. I wish him and his family all the best. My absolute gratitude for how he helped me from day one and his desire to improve."
“He will always be part of my best memories here in Manchester. It was nice. I think he is happy moving there. He had a good final day here. We could say bye.”
Whilst Bernardo Silva returns from the treatment room, the boss revealed that Oleksandr Zinchenko is heading in the other direction.
The Ukrainian who was not included in the match day squad, suffered a set-back in his recovery from injury.
The boss explained: “He was recovered, but he got injured again and is out for two or three weeks.”