On Saturday, City travel to Teesside to face Middlesbrough in the quarter-final of the FA Cup. The last encounter between the two sides ended in heartbreak for the Blues after an Aguero goal was cancelled out by a towering header of Dutchman Marten de Roon in stoppage time, thus ensuring a draw for Boro at the Etihad. Middlesbrough have been struggling recently, winning only one game out of their last eleven Premier League encounters. City’s recent form is the direct contrast, with the team not losing a match in the past ten games.
Pep addressed the press on early Friday afternoon, calling the game a “final” while also highlighting a well-organised Middlesbrough team, led by former Barcelona star Victor Valdes. The coach mentioned his excitement about being potentially able to return to Wembley after having won the Champions League there not only as a player, but also as a manager.
Captain Fantastic aka Vincent Kompany is back in the mix after having trained with the team for three days. Raheem Sterling also returns to the team after being rested for the dull 0-0 draw against Stoke on Wednesday. There are no new injury concerns besides the long-term absentees Ilkay Gündogan and Gabriel Jesus.
The manager was also asked about the future of former shot stopper Joe Hart; answering that a decision would be made at the end of the season. This is in the wake of Hart’s comments in which he referred to himself as a “surplus to requirements” at City.
If City should advance in the cup on Saturday, the Blues would face either Arsenal, Lincoln, Tottenham, Millwall, Chelsea, or United. The draw for the semi-final takes place on March 13th and is going to be televised on BBC One.