Pep Guardiola was delighted to win the Carabao Cup but the Manchester City boss says the trophy may have come at a price.
City were taken all the way to penalty shootout after finishing 0-0 with Chelsea after 120 minutes and also lost Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho to injuries, which he expects will see them be ruled out for “weeks.”
“Winning this game is important for the next games but this competition demands a lot and we are going to suffer for the next competitions — for the FA Cup and the Champions League and the Premier League,” he told a news conference. “But of course winning the title will help us and we will move forward. I’m happy. I’m tired but I’m happy.”
Laporte was replaced at half-time after appearing to injure his hamstring while Fernandinho went off shortly before full-time with what looked like a groin problem. City remain in the hunt for the quadruple, but Guardiola continues to play down their chances.
“For the next competitions it is so tough,” he added. “Today we saw it with extra time and two important players, and they will be out for a while.
“Now we are happy but for the next few weeks we’re going to be wow — but it happened and it’s normal. We have a lot of games and we demand a lot from these players.”
Guardiola’s side found it much tougher than a fortnight ago when his side nabbed a 6-0 victory over Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium.
“We are here to fight for all the competitions,” Sergio Aguero said after Sunday’s cup win. “Obviously the Champions League isn’t easy but we we are going to try to at least go as far as possible. And then with the Premier League we are there, and like I said we are going to fight for all the titles.”
The Argentinian thought he snatched a goal at Wembley but his strike was ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee, which showed he was offside by a tiny margin.
“Me and [Chelsea defender Antonio] Rudiger came out together, and I imagined that it would be close. It was millimetres, this is why we have VAR.”
Despite drawing a blank on Sunday, Aguero is in fantastic form having scored 12 goals in his last 12 matches, including two hat-tricks.
“I am in a good moment,” he said. “But like I say the first thing I worry about is what I do for the club, and right now I am thinking about the club and as for everything else it’s not for me to say.
“The teams that don’t come out and press us have done well,” Aguero asaid. “They didn’t press so much but it was pretty clear that that they were going to wait [for us] and even more when they played without a No.9 we realised that they were going to try to hit us on the counter-attack. But okay, most teams do this and we know that Chelsea are tough defensively.”
Guardiola revealed after the final that they had practised penalties going into the game.
“Yesterday after the training session we spoke with Mikel [Arteta]. The guys practised because we knew it could happen,” he added. “We practised like it was the final and the decision for the penalties I don’t like to say you and you. It has to be the players. The players choose which ones take and the position they would like to shoot. Ederson made the difference.”
However, Raheem Sterling says that Guardiola told him that he couldn’t watch his winning penalty. Ederson saved from Jorginho and David Luiz hit the post after Leroy Sane’s miss meaning that Sterling, who was born less than a mile from the stadium, could score the winner.”It’s a great feeling. I’m home, I’m at Wembley, in my city… it was a tough game but an amazing feeling. The boys were brilliant today,” Sterling said. “I spoke to Leroy [Sane before the penalty] and he said make sure that if I scored it was the winner. That was all the confidence I needed.
“Pep said he didn’t watch it — he said where did it go? I just told him ‘top bins.’
“Chelsea played a really good game today, they were solid, it was difficult to break them down but we kept focus and did the business. It’s one trophy down and now we just need to keep winning games and that’s it.”