De Bruyne the engine driving Man City's trophy charge

Last season against Huddersfield, we needed a replay.

LONDON - At some point towards the end of 2017, the questions surrounding Manchester City changed.

But the Robins failed to pull level and Kevin de Bruyne's goal on the final play of the match completed the 5-2 triumph for the Manchester club, whose fans are dreaming of the quadruple: Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and EFL Cup.

In Guardiola's seven years managing Barcelona (2008-2012) and Bayern Munich (2013-2016), his teams had the best defensive records in the league each season.

Twenty-four hours after he had put pen to paper, the League Cup semi-final second leg at Bristol City illustrated De Bruyne's worth perfectly. Warnock has tried a variety of different formations, but his team has struggled to contain individual players one-on-one, a trait that does not bode well with City's visit now looming large.

His predecessor at City, Manuel Pellegrini, effectively had to give up on the FA Cup two seasons ago amid similar fixture congestion.

Guardiola has repeatedly refused to discuss the idea of City winning the season quadruple of Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup, something which has never yet been achieved in English football history.

"I saw the way they play [at Mansfield] and I have a lot of respect for what they do". Sunday it's Chelsea, then the Champions League after that.

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Bristol City was attempting to become the first team since Sheffield Wednesday in 1991 to win the League Cup from outside the top flight.

Neil Warnock probably won't rotate his squad, as he did for the initial 0-0 draw with Mansfield in round three.

Despite Warnock's realism, in his 18 months as Manchester City boss Guardiola has experienced some of his hardest battles against clubs from the Championship and he knows the Welsh club could provide the toughest yet.

"We have to defend high because if we defend the box they are so strong".

Guardiola's side got lucky in beating Wolves - the West Midlands outfit missed three one-on-ones with Claudio Bravo, including one in second half stoppage time, in a game where they looked the more likely before the penalty shootout.

In South Wales, City will face more tests along those lines.

Junior Hoilett is leading the goalscoring charts for the Bluebirds with six league goals and two in the FA Cup. The Guardiola way and now the City way.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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