Pep Guardiola says Manchester City showed how serious they are about the FA Cup after reaching the semifinals with a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough.
Guardiola will go to Wembley for the first time as a City boss after an early goal from David Silva and a second from Sergio Aguero secured a comfortable quarterfinal win at the Riverside.
The City boss picked a strong side for the clash — four days before the crucial Champions League second leg with Monaco, which is then followed by a Premier League game with Liverpool.
“We are delighted, first of all to be in Wembley in the semifinals,” he told a news conference. “We deserve it by far because we’ve had four games all away against three teams from the Premier League and one of the best in the Championship, Huddersfield.
“From the beginning we showed to the people that we want to travel to London to Wembley for the semifinal because how we started was top.
“I have good memories of the old stadium and the new one. We are so happy to be there.”
City could have won the game by more after having 18 shots during the game but Middlesbrough’s reserve keeper Brad Guzan was in outstanding form — making one brilliant save to turn an Aguero shot onto the post.
At the other end Claudio Bravo was recalled and kept a clean sheet, and Guardiola said it was a strong team performance.
“We made a good performance, we were there from the beginning,” he added. “The game should be over 30 minutes before but we missed a few chances.
“It was similar for Middlesbrough at home, we created a lot of chances in the first half but didn’t score. Maybe you need that to improve, to get better. We’ll recover now and get ready for the game in France.
“When you attack good, you defend good. We defend 40 metres away, we want to play in that way. I always believe that when the ball is far away from our goal, we are safe.
“It’s good for the team for their confidence, not just the goal but before the two or three chances they had. Claudio made another good performance, three or four saves and that’s why we were able to have another clean sheet, it’s really good for us.”
Middlesbrough now have only survival to fight for but boss Pep Guardiola was encouraged by his side’s performance and says it gives them hope that they can beat the drop.
“This is the way we need to keep competing because we will win more than we lose,” he said.
“The past two games were awful for us so I was a bit concerned about the atmosphere when [City] scored the first goal so quickly, but they keep going, with high pressure, trying to win back the ball.
“As a coach you can’t be more proud of your players. I have told them now that I take much more positive things than negative.”
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