Man City reach FA Cup final but immediate focus on Uefa Champions League match against Tottenham
Raheem Sterling believes in quadruple dream but expects 'huge games to come'
Manchester City kept their hopes of a quadruple intact after reaching the FA Cup final with a 1-0 triumph over Brighton and Hove Albion at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
Gabriel Jesus proved to be the match-winner when his header after four minutes put City in the May 18 final where Pep Guardiola’s men will face either Watford or Wolverhampton Wanderers.
City, who have already won the League Cup, are second in the Premier League and are in the quarter-finals of the Uefa Champions League where they take on Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday in the first leg.
Raheem Sterling believes City are still on track to have a successful end to the campaign.
“We have some huge games to come, we look forward to the next one at Spurs on Tuesday and focus solely on that,” the England midfielder said.
Brighton had hoped to keep things tight against City but that plan imploded almost immediately.
Kevin de Bruyne curled a cross over from the right and Jesus nodded home from close range.
To their credit, Brighton did not buckle and never allowed the Premier League champions to find their best form.
“Brighton were brilliant, they stayed in the game and caused us problems from set-pieces,” Sterling said. “We showed spirit to hold on.”
City had a scare before half time when Kyle Walker was involved in a heated clash with Brighton forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh in the 32nd minute.
The Iran international appeared to have trod on Walker as they battled for the ball, which the City defender took exception to and the pair squared up to one another.
They exchanged verbals before Walker pushed his head towards Jahanbakhsh and referee Anthony Taylor booked both players for their actions.
Video Assistant Referee then reviewed whether Walker should have been dismissed, but the original decision stood.
Brighton came closest to an equaliser in the second half when Aymeric Laporte had to clear from underneath his cross bar under pressure from Glenn Murray.
As Brighton pushed forward in search of an equaliser, City began to exploit spaces in their rearguard. Sterling forced a sprawling save from Mat Ryan after finding room on the edge of the box.
But Jesus’ opener proved to be the only goal of the game.
Meanwhile, Joao Moutinho has warned Wolves to forget about FA Cup glory when they try and reach the final for the first time since 1960.
The midfielder refused to entertain lifting the trophy ahead of today’s semi-final with Watford at Wembley.
“If we think we are in the final than we’ve already lost,” the Portugal international said.
“We need to think about Sunday as it will be a very tough and hard game. We’ve already had a good season and we could stop here but we need to try to win every game we have to get in front.”
Wolves go into the game full of confidence after beating Manchester United 2-1 in the league. But Moutinho said that would count for nothing if they did not defeat Watford.
“Of course the most important one is the next one, Watford, in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, and we will try to do our best,” he said.
“We need to be focused only on Watford but we have a group of players who can do something big for the club.”
Watford manager Javi Gracia said reaching a first club final as a manager would be the highlight of his career.
“I have never coached in a final,” the 48-year-old said. “I have reached semi-finals in Russia but a final I never played and it would be the best achievement in my career for sure.”
Watford are on target for their first top-10 finish in England’s top flight since 1987 and reaching the FA Cup final for only the second time in the club’s history would be a fitting climax to the season, believes Gracia.
“It is something special this season because we worked really hard in pre-season and in all competitions and now we have the opportunity to enjoy with the supporters at Wembley one special game,” the Spaniard added.
“It is very good for all the squad. We have 26 players who have all done well in different moments. It is a good reward for all of them, not just the 11 players who play the next game.”
Updated: April 7, 2019 10:11 AM