Pep Guardiola relieved over no injuries on ‘dangerous’ pitch

Pep Guardiola felt his Manchester City side coped well with a “dangerous” pitch as they completed formalities against Burton in their Carabao Cup semi-final.

Sergio Aguero scored the only goal on the night as City won 1-0 at the Pirelli Stadium to wrap up a 10-0 aggregate success and officially confirm their Wembley place.

Guardiola felt victory marked another special achievement for City in their continuing development but he was equally pleased to come through unscathed on a freezing night.

Burton had kept the pitch covered until around two hours before kick-off to protect from frost with temperatures hovering around zero degrees.

City manager Guardiola said: “The game was very dangerous because the pitch was slippery.

“But, no injuries – that is so important – and we enjoy the moment because we are in a final.

“We know in Wembley, as we lived last season, it’s quite special. It’s nice to play a final in Wembley.”

Aguero was among a handful of senior players to feature along with the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne and Fabian Delph. Some of the clubs most promising youngsters also played, including Phil Foden, Eric Garcia, Philippe Sandler and Ian Poveda-Ocampo.

City will now have the chance to retain the first of the two trophies they won last season when they face Chelsea or Tottenham in next month’s final.

Guardiola said: “Protect the habit – the habit of getting into the final.

“I know it’s a competition, with all respect, that when you win and you are in the final you are so happy but when you’re out you’re not sad. It’s completely different in other competitions.

“But once we are there, we take every game seriously and we are in the final. We won already one title this season, the Community Shield. We are in the final and we are of course going to try to win it.”

Burton boss Nigel Clough said he felt “a lot” of pride in his side’s performance.

Clough said: “To be out of the tie after the first leg and still make it uncomfortable for them – they didn’t have it all their own way.

“For a League One team to cause them as many problems as Premier League teams do – I know they had some young players playing but they still had enough big hitters out there.

“We got about them a bit and I’m just a bit disappointed we didn’t get the goal we could have had.

“It’s been a brilliant experience for our players to be on the same pitch as some of them and for our supporters to see them here.”

Clough, who briefly brought his dog into his post-match press conference, felt his side played the conditions well.

He said: “We got our foot in and were physical without being reckless and silly and hurting people.”

“It did get a bit crispy towards the end. I think the chairman checked it was 65 minutes before refunds!

“We kept the covers on as late as possible and that protected the pitch. I think they were wondering when we were going to turn the undersoil heating on!”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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