City looks to bounce back against Reds in the League Cup
MANCHESTER, England - Agence France-Presse
Spain’s David Silva was instrumental in his team’s 3-0 win over Liverpool in the Premier League last week. AFP photoCostel Pantilimon says Manchester City has emerged from the FA Cup loss to Manchester United with its confidence intact as the team prepares to face Liverpool in the League Cup semifinal first leg clash today.
The Premier League leaders saw their quadruple-pronged trophy bid ended with a 3-2 defeat to rivals Manchester United in a thrilling FA Cup third-round showdown at the Etihad Stadium on Jan. 8.
However, City at least emerged from the contest with its heads held high having fought back from a 3-0 deficit with 10 men following skipper Vincent Kompany’s 12th-minute dismissal.
And understudy Pantilimon, who was handed a rare start ahead of Joe Hart, insists their self-belief has not been dented ahead of tonight’s home leg against Liverpool - because of the way the team fought back.
“It has not damaged our confidence,” he said. “It was an interesting game, but losing a player after 10 minutes is not normal. It was a foul but a normal foul and not a direct red card.
“We were surprised that the referee gave a red card after 10 minutes.
“At this level it is not normal and when you play a team like United it is important you have 11 men.
“But this is football and anything can happen. In the second half we played better, scored two goals and had a chance to get the draw.”
Meanwhile, Craig Bellamy insists Liverpool will be out for revenge against his former club following their recent 3-0 defeat to City in the league.
“For me I didn’t believe the 3-0 scoreline was quite correct and this is not just me with my Liverpool head on, but if I was watching the game as a neutral we had 66 per cent of possession which is a lot for an away side, especially against a team of Man City’s caliber.
“It was all about taking opportunities. Pepe (Reina) made a mistake for the first goal but the other goals came from a corner and a penalty.
“We were knocking on the door. Stewart (Downing) had a great chance and in the second half we had one or two chances we could have made more of.
“It’s a two-legged match and we have to make sure we are still in the tie. We have the second leg at Anfield and this club knows all about two-legged games, so if we can get it back to Anfield still very much in the tie we will have a great chance of getting to Wembley.
“This club is used to getting to semi-finals and finals and all we can do is give it our best and see where it takes us.”
In another semifinal clash, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City will look to gain the advantage and increase their chances of making the final.