Manchester City will host their cross-city rivals on Wednesday evening, as Manchester United make the short trip to Joie Stadium to dispute the final group stage match of the 2023/24 Conti Cup.
The Red Devils have already progressed to the knockout stage of the competition, and Gareth Taylor’s side will look to join them in the quarterfinals by securing all three points on Wednesday.
A draw may be enough see the Citizens progress, depending on the result in the concurrent Leicester City v Everton match – but Taylor insists that ‘it’s a nice game for us to have with the situation in our own hands. If we win, we progress.’
‘Our home form has been pretty good recently,’ he told reporters on Tuesday. ‘We have been scoring a lot of goals at home and taking our chances. It’s a game we’re looking forward to.’
Taylor hinted that there will perhaps be less squad rotation than fans have come to expect in the Conti Cup, taking every opportunity to emphasise that ‘we’re here to win.’Embed from Getty Images
‘It’s about creating as much rhythm as we can and sometimes that is going with the same team. Players are training hard, performing well from the start or the bench. We’ve never disrespected any competition. We have rotated but with confidence that we have players that are capable of performing,’ he explained.
Manchester City have their sights firmly fixed on lifting the trophy, despite the fact that ‘people place it as one of the lower trophies. It’s a trophy and one we have been successful in, and want to win this season.’
Wednesday’s hosts will take confidence from the fact that they have already comprehensively toppled Manchester United this season, claiming the bragging rights at Old Trafford after cruising to a 3-1 win against the Red Devils.
In his pre-match press conference, Taylor cited it as a ‘big moment’ in terms of the title race, but also as a defining moment for Manchester City’s confidence. ‘We made a statement that evening,’ he told reporters, ‘and we want to do that tomorrow evening.’
‘Tomorrow is a funny game because United are already through but they will want to give a good account of themselves. They potentially have one eye on the weekend but we don’t. We are really focused on this game.’