Wembley on City minds ahead of FA Cup replay

Man City midfielder Fernandinho feels that the FA Cup represents a great chance at silverware this season. City will face Middlesbrough away in the quarter-finals should they get past Championship outfit Huddersfield.
Man City midfielder Fernandinho feels that the FA Cup represents a great chance at silverware this season. City will face Middlesbrough away in the quarter-finals should they get past Championship outfit Huddersfield.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho insists the FA Cup remains a priority for his side despite their bid to advance in the Champions League.

Last week's thrilling 5-3 victory over French side Monaco has left Pep Guardiola's side in a strong position to advance to the quarter-finals in a competition the Spanish coach has excelled at.

But, before the return leg, City must face second-tier Huddersfield Town in an FA Cup fifth round replay today, with a place in the last eight at stake.

And Fernandinho insists City are keen to add to their five successes in the FA Cup, the last one coming under Roberto Mancini's leadership six years ago.

"If we win we are in the quarter-finals and after that we can be at Wembley," Fernandinho told the club's website.

"It's extremely important because the FA Cup is a beautiful competition and we want to go as far as possible.

"The support of our fans in the FA Cup will be very important. For us the aim is to be in the final."

City flew to Abu Dhabi for a spell of warm weather training immediately after the Monaco victory, returning to Manchester on Monday.

Guardiola is likely to rest key players, ahead of Sunday's Premier League visit to bottom side Sunderland, for the replay.

Fernandinho, 31, has proved particularly important for Guardiola this season as he has rotated his squad with the Brazilian used in both full-back positions as well as in midfield.

"No matter what position I play, the aim is always to have possession of the ball, create supremacy, to allow the team to feel that we have more players in the midfield - to help create more passes and chances," he said.

"But for me the most important is the team's victory and try to achieve a good position on the Premier League table."

Huddersfield remain in contention for automatic promotion from the Championship, despite a weekend draw at Barnsley.

Manager David Wagner has also been rotating his squad and is likely to do so again for the visit to City.

"We are looking so confident and so strong at the minute," said the German, who was assistant to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund.

"It's another opportunity to test ourselves against a very good opponent."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2017, with the headline 'Wembley on City minds ahead of FA Cup replay'. Print Edition | Subscribe