MANCHESTER CITY manager Mark Hughes praised his side after they fought back to seal a place in the fourth round of the Carling Cup after extra time last night.
Skipper Kolo Toure scored the decisive goal against Fulham in the 111th minute at Eastlands.
It was just the boost City were looking for after the late, late defeat by Manchester United on Sunday.
Fulham made it hard for them with Zoltan Gera scoring a wonderful opening goal, only for Gareth Barry to pull City level.
Hughes said: “They are very well organised and got plenty of people behind the ball. It was difficult to break them down. We had to be patient.
“We stuck at it and are in the hat for the next round which was the order of the day. We are pleased about that.
“You have got to understand how much effort and how much emotion there was in the derby. The players were a little bit drained but kept going. Obviously coming from behind is difficult.
“The majority of their team had not played at the weekend. They were energetic. In extra time a few of our guys were out on their feet.
“It was a big effort from everyone.”
Both City’s goals came following corners and Hughes is pleased they have added that dimension to their game. He said: “We did not look a threat from set plays last year, but now we do. We needed to step up and ask a few more questions of Fulham in the second half. We had to be a bit more forceful and we were.”
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson was proud of his second-string side.
“I was disappointed we could not take it to penalties but I am not disappointed with the team as they gave me everything,” he said.
“I thought we could give Manchester City a game and make it difficult for them. But we took it to an even better level. To find ourselves at 1-1 going into extra time was more than we could have hoped for but we deserved it. I have got a pretty good idea now of which players I can trust.”
City had the majority of possession in regulation time and surged forward in the eighth minute. Craig Bellamy, who scored twice against Manchester United in the epic 4-3 defeat at Old Trafford, skipped to the byline only to see his cross blocked.
A minute later Bellamy again made space on the left but from his delivery Barry’s header was cleanly taken by goalkeeper David Stockdale.
However they were left stunned in the 34th minute when Fulham took the lead with a goal out of nothing.
Gera picked up a loose ball 30 yards out and smashed a marvellous half-volley beyond Shay Given.
City responded in the 41st minute and Stockdale did well to punch away Bellamy’s inswinging free-kick from the edge of the area.
City started the second half brightly and Tevez got on the end of a cross from Nigel de Jong after 46 minutes, only to head wide.
City drew level in the 52nd minute when the Fulham goalkeeper lost his bearings as Bellamy delivered another corner and Barry scored with a header at the back post.
Barry then got into a good position on the edge of the area with a minute to go but his effort went wide and the match went into extra-time.
City carved out a good chance in the 98th minute when Joleon Lescott launched the ball long and Bellamy was on it in a flash only to send his effort over the crossbar.
Bjorn Helge Riise almost put Fulham ahead in the 109th minute, his angled drive going narrowly past the post but two minutes later Toure scored the winner when he got on the end of a corner from Martin Petrov to head the ball powerfully into the net.
MAN CITY: Given, Zabaleta, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, De Jong (Weiss 91), Barry, Ireland (Petrov 75), Tevez, Bellamy.
FULHAM: Stockdale, Stoor, Baird, Smalling, Kelly, Davies (Dikgacoi 71), Greening, Riise, Gera (Anderson 120), Seol, Eddie Johnson (Elm 91).
Referee: S Attwell.
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