Pep Guardiola was delighted by City’s performance against Southampton, and particularly the displays of his young charges.

Eric Garcia and Tommy Doyle both were contenders for man-of-the-match as the Blues eased into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals with the competition again allowing City to showcase their teenage talent.

“Eric Garcia has once again played a high level, like has this season and last season in the Carabao,” said Pep.

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“He didn’t make one mistake. Tommy, as well, he played well in position that isn’t his natural his position.

“I thought he played really well. Congratulations on his debut. I’m so sorry for Ian Carlo Poveda who was about to come on - but at 3-1 the game wasn’t over and after Angelino’s injury, John Stones had to play.

The boss also revealed Tommy Doyle was the only natural choice for holding midfield this evening, adding: “We had just one holding midfielder available - Ilkay Gundogan - and he’s played a lot of games.

“We have Fernandinho who can play there but he is playing centre-back (and was suspended tonight).

 

ACADEMY GRADUATES: Tommy Doyle, Phil Foden and Eric Garcia get set in the warm-up.

 

“That’s why Tommy played. I didn’t have another alternative. He was with us in pre-season and I’ve seen him in the Academy. I didn’t have any doubts he would play a good level.

“It was also a good opportunity to play Sergio and Gabriel Jesus together, playing closer to the goal. Gabriel is an incredible fighter defensively.

“This competition is good to move the team on. We played seriously; the quality of our passing was high.

“It’s not easy to attack the system Southampton had, with eight players back and fast players up front. Generally, it was a good game and we go through to the quarter-finals.

“The Carabao Cup is really good for the young players and for the players who didn’t play in the last game.

“It’s a good competition. We are already at the quarter-finals, so we’ll see who we get in the draw.

“You cannot win four titles in one season when you don’t play games so seriously. For the players who didn’t play the last games it’s good for me to see the rhythm they have and I was happy with what I saw.