Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has revealed the team only spent 15 minutes on tactics in preparation of their derby win over Manchester United.
Pep Guardiola’s side beat United 3-1 at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening to take control of their Carabao Cup semi-final with strikes from Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an own goal from Andreas Pereira.
It brought revenge for City after they were beaten 2-1 at home by United in the Premier League in December, further denting their hopes of retaining their title for a third consecutive season.
How did Man City beat Man Utd? Five things to know…
- Manchester City beat Manchester United 3-1 to take control of their Carabao Cup semi-final.
- Guardiola decided against starting a recognised striker, leaving Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus on the bench.
- Instead, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Sterling and Mahrez were tasked with getting the goals.
- And De Bruyne has revealed Man City spent just 15 minutes working on that system in training.
- The second leg is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 29 January.
City were excellent throughout the affair at Old Trafford on Tuesday but were particularly menacing in the first half, storming to a 3-0 lead.
This was despite Guardiola not naming a recognised striker in his starting XI, leaving both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus on the bench with the latter only coming on with 10 minutes remaining.
Instead, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and De Bruyne were handed the attacking responsibilities despite the former yet to score in 18 matches against United.
Although Sterling continued his barren run against the Red Devils, Guardiola’s plan worked to perfection as they seem to have killed the tie off at the halfway stage.
And while some may have expected City to be working on their United gameplan for a long period, De Bruyne has revealed they spent just 15 minutes on tactical drills in the morning of the match.
“We did 15 minutes this morning. That’s about it,” he told reporters.
“But it’s not like we never did it before so we did already a sometimes against teams who prefer to play man against man – Cardiff, United I think, Barcelona the way we did it the first year. So we’ve done it a couple of times.
“I think overall we played well. Even the second half they tried to put us under a little bit more pressure and we made one mistake and they got a goal out of it but I don’t think they had a lot of chances.
“I think we should have scored more today but in the end, 1-3 is a good advantage. And we know it’s not over but it was a good game for us.”
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De Bruyne: Tie is not done despite lead
Despite no team overcoming a two-goal first-leg deficit in a League Cup semi-final since Aston Villa did so against Tranmere in 1994, De Bruyne insists City are not yet guaranteed their place in the 2020 final.
For the second season in a row, there is no extra-time in the semi-finals with ties level after the 180 minutes going straight to a penalty shootout.
“It’s not done because I don’t think the rule of away goals is there so obviously they only need to go two so it’s possible,” he added.
“I think we know what their strong points were and then you try to keep the mistakes to a minimum.
“On the counter, they’re very dangerous. I think they’re more dangerous when they play in that way then when they have the ball.”