Man City reach Carabao Cup final: Pep Guardiola talks about Colin Bell legacy after semi-final win

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola wore a Colin Bell tribute T-shirt after the game

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says the team are inspired to build on Colin Bell’s legacy after reaching a fourth consecutive Carabao Cup final.

City, who have won the competition for the past three seasons, beat Manchester United 2-0 in the semi-final and will face Tottenham at Wembley on 25 April.

They had a minute’s silence at Old Trafford and wore black armbands for club legend Bell, who died on Tuesday.

“We dedicate the victory to Colin Bell and his family,” said Guardiola.

Bell made 501 appearances for City between 1966 and 1979, scoring 153 goals.

He helped City win promotion to the top flight and the First Division title, as well as the FA Cup, League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup. In 2004, fans voted to name a stand after him at Etihad Stadium.

“It was a sad day for all the Manchester City family,” said Guardiola after Wednesday’s game. “We are now in the present but before it was the past and it was created by exceptional players.

“When Colin Bell has a stand at the Etihad, when his name is the King [of the Kippax], it’s because he was something special.

“We have to play and defend legacies like Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee helped us to create at this incredible club. It was an honour to see [Summerbee] after the game.

“Colin was a big loss. It is sad news but we can continue and be incredibly proud of what these guys years ago created.”

‘Stones comeback is absolutely down to him’

John Stones scores for Man City
John Stones’ goal was his first since the 2018 World Cup when he scored twice for England against Panama

Guardiola praised defender John Stones, who scored the opening goal on Wednesday – his first for the club since 2017 – before Fernandinho volleyed in a late second.

The 26-year-old England centre-back started the season out of the City side, with injuries and a loss of form appearing to put his career at the club in doubt.

“All credit for him,” Guardiola said. “In a long career, you always have ups and downs. Unfortunately, he struggled longer than we expected and he expected – but his comeback is absolutely down to him.

“He made another outstanding performance. But the most important thing he has been able to do – something he has struggled with the past three or four years – is play four, five, six games in a row. This is so important – for him especially, and for us.

United semi-final losses ‘not a mental issue’

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last trophy was the 2013 Norwegian Cup

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says his side’s semi-final struggles are not because of a psychological problem.

United have lost four semi-finals in the past year – including to City in the EFL Cup for a second consecutive year. They lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup last season and Sevilla in the 2019-20 Europa League.

“It’s not a mental issue,” said Solskjaer. “Tonight it was about a lack of quality compared to them. They deserved to win.

“We didn’t have the margins with us. Tonight we conceded at two set-plays. We need to be better. That is the answer. Some practice, habits and desire at times.”

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