We have been in touch with Manchester City website www.typicalcity.org and have asked Alex some questions ahead of Sunday’s League Cup final at Wembley to see how he’s feeling about the game.
Here’s what he had to say…
1) How has your run to Wembley been? What have been the best and worst bits of the League Cup for you this season?
We have had a fairly serene run to the final barring a minor blip at Goodison Park. Plenty of goals have been scored, including one from young Manu Garcia on his debut which was nice. Speaking of young players, Kelechi Iheanacho earned his stripes in the early rounds of the League Cup this season. He has become a well known young striker since then and it has been a very great pleasure to see him assert his talent.
The League Cup was always a likely source of silverware for Pellegrini in his last season so it is no surprise that he named strong teams against all and sundry in the earlier rounds. he was rewarded with a series of big wins.
The two legs of the Semi Final against Everton were more bittersweet. We won and qualified for the final which was great, obviously, but it wasn’t all good. Kevin de Bruyne picked up a long term injury in the return leg after inspiring a big win and he has been missed. The various controversies over both legs got out of hand really and the bad feeling will undoubtedly carry over into next season and maybe beyond.
2) What kind of game are you expecting on Sunday and how do you think City will lineup?
Games between City and Liverpool have invariably been brilliant these last few years and I can’t see a dull game this time round. Both teams have so much to play for and I would expect a very attacking game from both sides. I would expect to see something like the team played against Dynamo Kiev in the week. That was a strong win but the reality is that City still have a lot of injuries so the team really picks itself.
Aguero is in red hot form. Silva and Sterling were dominant. The midfield three of Toure, Fernando and Fernandinho were great. Kompany being fit again might well make the difference on Sunday. We are a different, better team with him calling the shots at the back.
The one area that I worry about is in goal. Joe Hart has been great all season but he is going to be sat on the bench. Unless Pellegrini does something wildly out of character, Willy Caballero is going to start and suddenly it’s a whole different game. Caballero is not good enough and Jurgen Klopp should be delighted if the Argentine starts in goal.
3) How do you think Raheem Sterling has worked out so far?
He has done really well, I think. He has stepped onto a training ground where the quality is much higher than what he was used to at Liverpool and has adapted well. There have been some teething issues but that is to be expected with a 21 year old. It is even more important than usual with Sterling to divorce the media/comment section impression of him and concentrate on the reality. He has been sensational in the Champion’s League and shown more than enough in the Premier League. Suggestions that he is an expensive squad player are drivel.
He is clearly the outstanding young attacker in the Premier League and I expect and demand that he kicks on and keeps improving.
The City hierarchy are convinced that he was undervalued at £44m and I am inclined to agree. Remember when all and sundry laughed at paying £38m for Aguero? I’m not saying Sterling will be as good as him, but I fully expect to look back in 3 years and see it as a bargain. He has everything to be a top player and now he has the opportuinty to prove it. Pep Guardiola will love him.
4) Are you sad to see Manuel Pellegrini go and how big a job does Pep Guardiola face?
I will be sad to see Manuel Pellegrini go in a lot of ways. He is a lovely old man with very many good points. I would argue he has done the job he was brought in to do and done it very well. He was given the job of progressing City in the Champion’s League and winning a trophy a year. He should leave having accomplished both of those as well as moving City on from the sound and the fury of the Roberto Mancini years.
Pellegrini will go down as one of City’s best ever, one of only four managers to ever win us the league title, and I’ll always be grateful to him for that.
At the same time, I cannot wait for Guardiola. Pellegrini has been good but has clearly reached his ceiling at City. Conversely, Guardiola seems to have no discernible ceiling to his ability. He is a builder and is about to be given the best raw materials in the game. The job he faces is enormous in scale but there is no doubt he will make City into something truly formidable and I cannot wait. #Pepteam
Another plus point of Guardiola – the real idiots, the people who truly have no worthwhile opinions, are outing themselves by saying that Guardiola is a “fraud” because he’s always managed teams with loads of money. Bless them, the happy idiots.
5) What will the score be on Sunday?
Honestly no idea. I gave up predicting what the score for City vs Liverpool games would be a few years ago now. Serious question – is there a more unpredictable fixture in English football nowadays?
If forced to guess, I’ll go for City 2-1 Liverpool.