Hughes relishing United semi-final

Manchester City book place in last four with 3-0 victory over Arsenal at Eastlands

MANCHESTER, England: Manchester City manager Mark Hughes insists his team have nothing to fear ahead of their English League Cup semi-final with Manchester United.City booked a place in the last four with a 3-0 victory over Arsenal in the quarter-finals at Eastlands here on Wednesday.

The significance of City’s achievement is that next month’s two-legged tie against United will be their first major domestic semi-final since 1981.

And it is more than three decades since City last won a major trophy, the 1976 League Cup.  Hughes is adamant that despite facing the holders, who beat his side 4-3 in the Premier League at Old Trafford in September, City should feel confident of their chances.

“It’s a fantastic draw and everyone in Manchester and maybe the wider world will be excited by it,” said former United striker Hughes. “There’s a huge focus on it and we’re going to enjoy it.

“Over two games we back ourselves against anybody.

“We’ve got big games in the meantime but when those games come around we’re going to enjoy them and try to get to a Wembley final, which this club hasn’t had any experience of in recent times.

“Let’s hope we can experience that. We want to do well, we’re progressing,” the former Blackburn and Wales manager added.

“We need to be in a domestic semi-final. We’ve come this far and we want to try and win the competition.”

City overcame a youthful Gunners team thanks to second-half goals from Carlos Tevez, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Vladimir Weiss.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger then risked accusations of poor sportsmanship by refusing to shake Hughes’s hand at the end of the match, as is the custom in English football.

“It’s his choice and it’s a personal thing,” said Hughes. “At one point he questioned why I was over on his side of the technical area and maybe he was a little bit aggrieved by that.

“But I would suggest he was probably more aggrieved his team got beaten.

“I’ve been to the Emirates (Arsenal’s ground) and been beaten 6-2 but I still offered my hand and that’s the least you can do.

“There’s a certain protocol and maybe on this occasion Arsene hasn’t worked with that,” Hughes added.

“I was a little bit disappointed because I’ve got huge respect for him and maybe he needs to be a little more gracious.”

Wenger refused to explain why he would not shake Hughes’s hand.

“It has nothing to do with the game and I’m free to shake hands with who I want after the game,” he said.

“If it is professional courtesy so I have no professional courtesy,” the Frenchman joked.

Meanwhile Wenger remained unrepentant regarding his longstanding policy of fielding young players in the League Cup even though the Gunners were beaten by a full-strength City side.

“They played their full side and we didn’t, that’s the difference,” he said.

“We use this competition (for development) and we play in the Champions League and they (City) don’t, so they use their full side.

“You can’t have these good young players and never give them a game.

“We’re not going to change our policy and that’s the price we have to pay.”

Arsenal have not won a trophy for four years but Wenger insisted he did not value the League Cup highly enough to change his selection policy.

“I don’t consider that if you win the Carling (League) Cup we will parade around and say that we have won a trophy.

“For me, it’s a competition to develop our young players.” — AFP

What do you think of this story?
  • Great (0%)
  • Interesting (0%)
  • Surprised (0%)
  • Sad (0%)
  • Angry (0%)
  • Inspired (0%)




Supplement Downloads

Member of