MANCHESTER CITY boss Mark Hughes is relishing a two-legged derby clash with rivals Manchester United in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup after a 3-0 win over Arsenal at Eastlands last night.
Second-half goals from Carlos Tevez, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Vladimir Weiss booked City’s place in the last four of a domestic cup competition for the first time since 1981.
“The whole of Manchester will be tuning in and we’re looking forward to some fantastic games,” Hughes said.
“We would have fancied ourselves against anyone in the draw, so bring them on.”
The win halted a run of seven straight league draws, and Hughes added: “We’ve broken that cycle we’d like to think. We have great talent and we have lots of threats in the attacking sense but I was really pleased with our defensive work, we set the tone from first minute to the last.”
Hughes said he was surprised his Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger disappeared down the tunnel before he could shake hands with him.
“You have to be gracious when you win and gracious in defeat and maybe Arsene wasn’t too gracious but I can understand it, maybe he’s used to winning games and when he does get beat sometimes he doesn’t know how to behave.”
Wenger’s curt response was: “I have nothing to say. I am free to shake hands with whom I want.”
City defender Kolo Toure believes the win will kickstart their season.
“Both (Tevez and Wright-Phillips’) goals are fantastic and that gave us the belief to play in our way, and it’s really important to get back to winning after seven draws,” the Ivorian defender said.
“We now have a big game against Chelsea (in the league). We have been really unlucky with late goals but tonight we kept a clean sheet which is really good for our season.”
After a tight first half Tevez set City on their way five minutes after the interval when he embarked on a crab-like run across the box before pulling the trigger on a shot that crashed in off the underside of the bar. City’s long-suffering fans were ecstatic. And they had even more to celebrate 20 minutes later when Wright-Phillips collected Kolo Toure’s short pass and galloped at Mikael Silvestre, who failed to get tight enough.
It was an open invitation to shoot. And the little England winger obliged, Lukasz Fabianski again left clutching at air, with absolutely no hope of getting near the ball.
At the death substitute Weiss popped up to fire home a third and City had secured a place in a first cup semi-final since 1981.
MAN CITY: Given, Richards, Bridge, Lescott, Toure, Ireland, Wright-Phillips (Weiss 77), Barry, Adebayor, Tevez (Kompany 74), Bellamy.
ARSENAL: Fabianski, Silvestre, Eboue, Traore, Eastmond (Watt 68), Rosicky, Ramsey, Song, Wilshere, Merida, Vela.
Referee: Chris Foy.
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