Clough: People don’t comprehend scale of Burton achievement

Nigel Clough does not feel the scale of Burton’s achievement is fully appreciated as they prepare to host Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.

This is not the first time a Sky Bet League One club managed by Clough has appeared in the last four of the competition. Sheffield United were narrowly beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Tottenham in 2015, but Burton have neither the tradition nor finances of the Blades.

This is new territory for Albion, a club who have only been in existence since 1950 and who have only been playing in the Football League since 2009, and Clough does not think the feat will ever be repeated by a club of its size.

Manchester City v Burton Albion – Carabao Cup – Semi Final – First Leg – Etihad Stadium
Burton endured a night to forget at the Etihad Stadium (Martin Rickett/PA)

Burton knocked out Aston Villa, Burnley, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough to reach the semi-finals, although their wildest dreams of going all the way to Wembley became something of a nightmare as they lost the first leg 9-0 to holders Manchester City.

The second leg at the Pirelli Stadium on Wednesday night is obviously a dead rubber, but Clough said: “It’ll probably never happen again. To beat the team’s we’ve beaten to get here and end up in the last four with Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham – three of the best sides in Europe.

“It’s amazing, really, and the fact that the semi-finals are over two legs helps emphasise that.

“I saw a statistic on the TV recently that had our budget at £8million. If you took 30 per cent of that then you might be nearer the actual figure. We didn’t have a budget of £8million when we were in the Championship.

Soccer – Sky Bet League Two – Burton Albion v Carlisle United – Pirelli Stadium
The Pirelli Stadium is the venue for Wednesday night’s second leg (Tim Goode/PA)

“The likelihood of us ever making the second leg competitive were very slim and I think what will strike them more than anything, their players and staff, is when they come here and take a look around our little ground and see the size of club we are.

“I think they will ask themselves, I hope, how a club of our size has made it to the last four of a major cup competition. I want them to take that away more than anything else when they come here as then I think they might be able to comprehend the scale of our achievement.”

Such is the gulf between the two clubs, Clough believes just scoring a goal against Pep Guardiola’s team would be a “wonderful achievement” for his League One side.

Asked what Burton can possibly glean from the return game, the Albion boss said: “It will be about little milestones, and pride of course. If we could get a goal then that would be a wonderful achievement.

Manchester City v Burton Albion – Carabao Cup – Semi Final – First Leg – Etihad Stadium
Nigel Clough tried to look on the bright side after the 9-0 hammering in Manchester (Martin Rickett/PA)

“If one of our players could score against one of the best teams in Europe then that would be a milestone for us, and a wonderful individual milestone for whoever got a goal.”

Clough also wants his players to show more aggression in the second leg, saying: “I was disappointed we didn’t get a booking in Manchester.

“You would hope that at seven, eight, 9-0 down one of the players would feel upset enough to get closer and put a foot in. That was the most disappointing thing from the first game.”

Scott Fraser (knee) and Jamie Allen (ankle) are doubts for Burton and will be assessed. New signings Josh Clarke and Colin Daniel are cup-tied and ineligible respectively.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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