The press reflect on Saturday’s FA Cup triumph over Port Vale, while we also discover the view from the opposition ahead of this afternoon’s FA Women’s Super League clash at Tottenham.
Plus, despite Pep Guardiola’s repeated insistence we are unlikely to recruit in the transfer window, of course there’s a tale of a potential arrival…
Jack Gaughan: “Pep Guardiola uncorked a bottle of Brunello Di Montalcino inside his office to toast John Askey and his Port Vale team. The pair shared a glass, spoke of how the League Two upstarts had attempted to skewer Manchester City.
“While the managers were clinking, their players were swapping shirts in the City dressing room. The Premier League champions had invited their opponents in, chatting openly about a night illuminated by one moment centred on the clear protagonist of this tie.
“Tom Pope was the story, facing his faux social media enemy, John Stones. That narrative only continued, his 35th-minute equaliser – headed beyond Claudio Bravo – the abiding memory for 8,000 supporters who had travelled up from the Potteries.
“Those seconds of unbridled joy cannot be taking away from a team 10th in the fourth tier and they held the mighty City for seven minutes after that, only out of the FA Cup after two perilously close VAR decisions and another goal for Phil Foden's growing collection.
“City are through, creating enough chances to win this game twice, but were made to work hard. Port Vale's goalkeeper, Scott Brown, made a number of eye-catching saves.”
Stoke-on-Trent Live: What happened when Man City invited Tom Pope and Port Vale into dressing room
Michael Baggaley: “Manchester City's players showed the class you would expect from champions when they invited the Port Vale squad into their dressing room after their FA Cup third round tie at the Etihad.
“The Vale gave everything in a 4-1 defeat in front of their 8,000 travelling fans - effort that was acknowledged by City manager Pep Guardiola and his squad after the game.
“Guardiola also invited manager John Askey and assistant Dave Kevan into his office.”
Askey explained: "He invited us in for a glass of red - and I came away with a bottle so it's been worth coming if only for that!
"I think he liked the fact that we tried to play, that's the thing.
"He is a gent as you would expect and a true football man. It is just nice to meet people like that.
"I must say that the Manchester City players were brilliant with our players afterwards. They invited them in and had a bit of a laugh... especially with Popey and John Stones as you can imagine. That was a good icebreaker."
PEP 💬 It was a pleasure. I saw the manager and the sporting director. It’s nice for us to host these clubs and for their players to realise we are the same. We play at a different level but dreams are dreams.— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 4, 2020
🔵 #ManCity pic.twitter.com/egQRq4p7kk
Manchester Evening News: The moment Phil Foden confirmed his status as David Silva successor in Man City squad
“Foden has idolised the Spaniard during his rise from academy prospect to first team squad player at City. It's easy to forget that the Stockport-born midfielder had only just turned 10 when Silva signed for City.
“In recent years Silva has taken Foden under his wing, guiding him into the first team picture and trying to pass on a few of those tricks that have lit up the Etihad over the past decade.
“But during Foden's gradual rise to prominence in the last couple of years only five of his 22 starts have come alongside Silva, the man he is expected to replace in City's squad when the latter retires.
“This was Silva's first start since picking up an injury in the derby defeat to Manchester United on December 7. In his absence Foden has begun five of the last eight games, his best run yet for the club.
“He's been impressive in those games as well and the fact Guardiola has had the confidence to play him against Arsenal and Everton in Premier League fixtures suggests he is becoming a more influential member of the squad.
“You could say little was learnt in a routine FA Cup victory against a League Two outfit, but this was a strong City side and Foden was head and shoulders above his teammates. He was the outstanding player on show once again.
“While Silva linked play intelligently and looked for pockets of space against a deep defence, Foden was the ring master, driving City forward and at the heart of all their best moments.”
Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs Women v Manchester City - Karen and Juan's preview
Head Coach Juan Amoros: “In City, we know that we’re coming up against some very experienced players, they’re very good on the ball and we know they have some great finishers.
“When you play teams like them, they tend to have less weaknesses and more strengths than other teams in the league so it’s a question of us trying to exploit their weaknesses.
“It’s going to be a tough challenge, but I think the girls are ready for it. Last time we played them, we created a lot of chances and put them under pressure.
“Unfortunately, that FA Cup match ended in defeat, but it was a great experience and day for us overall as a Championship side.
“We’ve definitely grown as a team since then so we’re hoping to have a better chance of getting a positive result on this occasion.”
Head Coach Karen Hills: “Facing last season’s domestic double cup winners and runners-up of the WSL is never going to be easy for any team.
“We know it’s going to be a challenging game against a top side full of quality players, but this is what this league is all about – there are no easy games.”
Rhys Turrell: "Koulibaly is one of European football’s most highly-regarded players and has been linked with moves to Manchester United, Everton and Arsenal this month.
“And now West Ham have joined the race to get him as they desperately look to add top talent in their fight against Premier League relegation.
“Manchester City are also said to be interested, as Pep Guardiola looks for defensive options to help out Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones following the departure of Vincent Kompany and injury to Aymeric Laporte.”