City’s win at Swansea is the main topic of conversation in this morning’s press round-up – along with the draw for the EFL Cup Round 4.
The Blues were the dominant force after the break against the Swans and could have won by more than the eventual 2-1 score-line, but the home team rallied in added time to cause one or two nervy moments.
And that’s what Swansea defender Mike van der Hoom is taking encouragement from ahead of the weekend re-match.
He told the Swans’ official site: “Francesco Guidolin’s side made a late charge for an equaliser, but the visitors held strong to book a tie with rivals Manchester United in the next round.
‘We started a little nervously, but we gained more confidence after Borja went close to scoring,’ said the Dutch centre-back.
‘We did well in the first half, but it became more difficult when they scored the first goal – it was a bad time to concede.
‘It was a dramatic finish. If we had scored a little earlier, it would have given us more time to get an equaliser. It was not enough in the end, though.
‘We have to learn from this. We know how they play, and they know how we play.
‘It’s a new game on Saturday, and we hope for a better result.’
Those words were echoed by his boss Francesco Guidolin on ESPN as they report: “Despite losing 2-1 to Manchester City in the EFL Cup home tie on Wednesday night, Swansea manager Guidolin was pleased with his team's performance that should have garnered a draw.
“Goals from Gael Clichy and Aleix Garcia ultimately sealed the deal for City, and while substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson pulled one back for Swansea in injury time, but the Swans could not find an equaliser.
“This defeat was Swansea's fourth league and cup match without a victory, something that Guidolin hopes will change soon.
‘I am disappointed because I think we deserved another result,'' said Guidolin.
‘We deserved to draw and take it to extra time. The game was well-balanced and the performance of my team was good.
‘It is not a good moment for us. Little things are going against us, we are missing chances.
‘Manchester City are a very good team, even though they changed their players around. But I am optimistic, as I saw my team play a good game.'”
Of course, the ‘reward’ is another tough away trip in the next round, with the Blues paired with Manchester United.
It’s a game that will again capture the attention of the football world, but the Mirror suggest the City fixture adds another headache to an already tough month for Jose Mourinho’s side.
They write; “But it's also ensured that October is looking like a truly terrible month for Mourinho's men, as a fourth-round tie against Manchester City is added to the list.
“They could potentially have come out of the tie with a cushy match against Reading, Bristol, Leeds or Preston North End.
“Instead, it's Pep's City just six weeks after the Premier League leaders won so convincingly 2-1.
“That game is wedged between Premier League ties with Chelsea and Burnley.
“Before that, they face Fenerbahce at Old Trafford in the Europa League for a game whose stakes have been raised following their round-one capitulation at Feyenoord.
“There's also the small matter of a trip to Anfield to face Jurgen Klopp's newly resurgent Liverpool.”
That said, the Blues hardly have a cushy October!
Moving on and former Barca midfielder Xavi has said City’s strength in depth means it is wrong to claim the EFL Cup starting XI was a second string as some pundits have suggested.
‘Manchester City don’t have a second team – it’s unfair to call them that,’ the former Barcelona midfielder told Goal.
‘Of course Pep will make changes in the domestic cup competitions, but the players he will be bringing in will be world class international players – that is the strength of the Manchester City squad.
‘You cannot win multiple trophies with 11 players, you need a squad.’
Finally, everybody knows the threat Barcelona present any club and a Barca without Lionel Messi is still a formidable side.
It seems the Argentine genius will now miss several games due to a groin strain – though should be back to face the Blues.
The Telegraph report: “Barcelona star Lionel Messi will be side=lined for the next three weeks due to a groin strain, dealing a huge blow to his club and country.
‘To lose Lionel Messi means football loses and we lose,’ said Barca boss Luis Enrique.
“Messi limped off just before the hour mark of the Spanish champions' 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid last night.
“The Argentine captain is set to miss his country's World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Paraguay next month as well as Barca's Champions League clash at Borussia Monchengladbach.
“However, Messi should be fit in time for a reunion with old coach Pep Guardiola when Manchester City visit the Camp Nou on Champions League duty on October 19.”