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Pep Guardiola hopes EFL Cup is catalyst for more success

Pep Guardiola hopes EFL Cup is catalyst for more success
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The manager has his eye on lifting the Premier League and Champions League trophies.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola wants his side to use their Carabao Cup victory to spur them on to Premier League and Champions League glory.

City won the League Cup for a fourth successive year and joint record eighth time in total with a 1-0 win over Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday, which came courtesy of Aymeric Laporte's late header.

Guardiola's side do not get much time to bask in their latest glory, though, as they meet Paris St Germain in the Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday, while Manchester United's draw with Leeds on Sunday moved them closer to another league title.

"We will rest and prepare for the semi-final first leg against PSG. After that, we are two games away from winning the most important title.

"The Premier League is the most important title, the one I am proud of the most. In this crazy schedule, between the games against PSG, we'll try to win the first one against Crystal Palace.

"We won the first one, we are close to a second one and we go to Paris to try for another one."

Guardiola raised a few eyebrows with a strong team selection that included Kevin De Bruyne, who has just recovered from an ankle injury.

But the Spaniard did not want to take any risks against Spurs having been beaten in last weekend's FA Cup semi-final.

"We cannot deny one eye is always in the Champions League," Guardiola added. "We are in the semi-final for only the second time, always one eye on that.

"But once we arrived at the final, and after what happened against Chelsea, we thought the best way to arrive for it.

"People said you picked a strong team but I don't believe that – the people on the bench could play perfectly. When I play finals my first thought is the guys on the bench.

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur – Carabao Cup Final – Wembley Stadium
There was a familiar feeling of disappointment for Tottenham's players (Adam Davy/PA)

"We take every game seriously, otherwise it is impossible to win four Carabao Cups in a row."

While City enjoyed the regular taste of success, it was also a familiar feeling of defeat on the big stage for Spurs, whose 13-year trophy drought continues.

They were second best against City and lost a third successive major final after defeats in the 2015 League Cup final and 2019 Champions League final.

Interim boss Ryan Mason played in that 2015 loss for Spurs, but found himself leading his boyhood club out as manager after taking the reins in the wake of Jose Mourinho's sacking on Monday.

And he says another final defeat is not easier to take for his group of players.

"Pain. It hurts. I've been sitting in there as a player, I've played for this football club and lost a final, I know what it's like," said Mason.

"I know that feeling. It's normal that they're hurting. It's normal, because it shows that they care.

"And this group of players care deeply about this football club. I think we saw that today, they gave absolutely everything, 100 per cent commitment. We tried, we tried, it wasn't enough today, that's tough to take.

"City are a great side, an incredible team but I think our group of players gave everything with what they have had to deal with in seven days, the lack of preparation but they gave everything, absolutely everything. That is something to be proud of.

"I think when you lose a cup final, it's disappointing. We're all hurting. I am, the players are and I'm sure the fans are and everyone associated with the football club. It's difficult to take. Obviously it's my job, a coach's job to start giving the players a platform and start preparing, start planning."

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola pictured on January 10, 2021
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Friday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

ROWING
· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

SWIMMING
· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

TRAMPOLINE
· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

CANOE SLALOM
· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

FOOTBALL
· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

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