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Jan 9, 2019 at 7.45pm UK at Etihad Stadium (Manchester)
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Burton boss Clough: I don't want to frighten my players before City clash

Burton boss Clough: I don't want to frighten my players before City clash
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The League One club meet the English champions in the Carabao Cup semi-finals next week.

Burton manager Nigel Clough is not spending much time briefing his players on Manchester City's qualities as he does not want to frighten them ahead of the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final.

Sky Bet League One club Burton will head to the Etihad Stadium next Wednesday knowing their chances of progressing any further in the competition are extremely slim, but they are determined to enjoy the rewards of an excellent run so far.

The Brewers have knocked out Aston Villa, Burnley, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough to reach the last four, but after watching City's 2-1 win over Premier League title rivals Liverpool on Thursday night Clough was realistic about his side's prospects of going any further.

"We've not gone into any detail with them because that will frighten the life out of them," he said. "They know. They watch Match of the Day every week. They know exactly how good they are.

"We'll approach it exactly the same way we did against the Championship clubs and Burnley. We can't do too much on them because we don't know what team they'll play.

"It helps in some ways because we can focus on ourselves, do our jobs and hopefully they'll have a terrible night which is what it will take for something to happen in our favour."

Clough was twice a winner of the League Cup as a player with Forest, in 1989 and 1990, and he was reacquainted with the trophy as he sat alongside it on Friday.

But while the silver glistened on the table, he was determined not to be sidetracked from his main goals for the season, with his side up to 13th in League One but still only five points above the drop zone.

"We'll be stressing to the players that the Rochdale match (on Saturday) is the more important one," he said. "We're not that many points above the relegation zone and we want to establish ourselves in the top half of the table.

"City will take care of itself, one way or another. The next two league games are more important in our minds."

Even so, the tie will evoke memories of Burton's 2006 meeting with Manchester United, when they held at bay the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney to earn a goalless draw at home and a replay at Old Trafford which ultimately transformed the club.

Smartly investing their financial windfall, they went from a non-league outfit into a club which enjoyed two seasons in the Championship until suffering relegation on the final day of last season.

"We think about it most days," Clough said when asked about how far the club have come. "We've worked incredibly hard to get to this stage and the only down side we've had in 20 minutes was the last four minutes of last season when we got relegated.

"Apart from that it's all been positive stuff."

Clough is looking at the semi-final very differently to that United clash given Burton would need not one great night but two to advance over the two legs.

"To reach the League Cup semi-final, in some ways the job is done," he said. "But we still have an outside chance of achieving a miracle, and that's what we'll try for."

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27205256173965
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd27149453322151
3Leicester CityLeicester27155746311550
4Chelsea27138642251747
5Everton2614483933646
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham2613674031945
7Liverpool27127847351243
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs26126842271542
9Aston Villa251231038271139
10Arsenal26114113427737
11Leeds UnitedLeeds26112134344-135
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2797112837-934
13Crystal Palace2797112943-1434
14Southampton2686123144-1330
15Burnley2778121935-1629
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton26511102633-726
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2675142744-1726
18Fulham27411122133-1223
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2738162056-3617
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2742211643-2714

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