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Carabao Cup

Clough hoping for Carabao Cup miracle

7 January 2019

Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough is hoping that current Carabao Cup holders Manchester City have a “terrible night” when the two teams meet at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The Sky Bet League One outfit have seen off the likes Aston Villa, Burnley, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough to get to the Semi-Finals, and Clough says it is a special achievement to reach this stage.

“We just have to hope that they have a terrible night which, if we want anything to go in our favour, they will have to,” he said.

“When you beat three top-eight sides in the Championship and a Premier League side, that is no fluke to get to a Semi-Final, and that is special.

“It is a bonus for the club to get these games, it is a big boost financially and I think it has been a great confidence boost for the side because we have played well at times this season.”

The other Semi-Final tie is an all Premier League affair between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, and Clough feels that all three teams would have wanted to draw the Brewers as they would see it as an easy pass to the Final.

He added: “I can imagine all three teams when the draw was made that it was a bye to the Final for them if they drew us and especially when they have so many big games, they won’t have to put a strong team out.

“Tottenham and Chelsea are going to have to put a good team out against each other, but against us they’d have probably thought that they wouldn’t have to do that. 

“Every game, you have a chance, it just depends on what degree that chance is. Ours is extremely slim - but there is always a chance in football.”

Manchester City put seven past Rotherham United in their FA Cup Third Round fixture on Sunday, and Clough admits whichever side Pep Guardiola sends out, it will be a tough task to overcome them.

“Whichever team they play, we are going to have problems with them. [Kevin] De Bruyne and [Riyad] Mahrez on the bench against Liverpool; they can destroy Premier League teams on their own,” he said.

“That’s where you see the strength in depth – not just on the bench but below that as well, as they have some of the best youngsters in the country too.

“We are looking forward to just enjoying the experience and nobody gives us a chance, but the players will be supported and let’s all enjoy the occasion.”

The 52-year-old is looking forward to lining up against one of the best managers in the world in Guardiola, and says he wants to learn as much as he can from him on the night.

“I think there is a handful of managers who are world-class, you look at Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs, Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, and he is right up there in the elite.

“I will be in the same boat as the players, trying to learn whatever I can from him on the night, because you see the way that his team plays and his approach.”

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