English Premiership

City eager for Cup triumph

2016-01-29 09:26
Yaya Toure (Getty Images)

United Kingdom - Kevin de Bruyne will miss 10 weeks of Manchester City's bid for success on four trophy fronts, starting with the visit to Aston Villa in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

The Belgian international twisted his knee badly in an off-the-ball incident during the League Cup semi-final second leg victory over Everton on Wednesday, a win which carried City through to next month's final against Liverpool.

But the knee ligament injury will keep de Bruyne out of that Wembley date, as well as both legs of City's Champions League last 16 tie with Dynamo Kiev.

The 24-year-old could also miss the Champions League quarter-finals in April should City get that far.

However, his team-mate Fernandinho insists City can focus on the FA Cup and put concerns about injuries -- and the final date against Liverpool -- to one side when they visit Villa.

"It's always difficult when you have a game in midweek to get to a final," he said. "It's hard to keep concentration but our team is very experienced to control this.

"We know the FA Cup is important for the team and fans. Villa is a tough team, on a tough pitch in a tough stadium."


The Birmingham club are bottom of the Premier League table but Fernandinho said: "They are not having a good time in the Premier League but in 90 minutes anything can happen. We have two days to prepare and will see which players the manager (Manuel Pellegrini) chooses.

"I hope we can show the same passion and concentration in defending, and attacking as well. Our fans like it like that, especially in these knockout games."

Fernandinho's semi-final performance against Everton was all the more impressive given that the Brazilian had spent three weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, although he hopes to be involved at Villa Park.

"It's tough to be out," said Fernandinho. "I don't want a rest.

"My injury was not serious but I had a talk with the doctor and we agreed it was best for me to stay out and have a couple of weeks just training so I could recover 100 percent. I hope that by doing that I can play until the end of the season without injury."

Villa enter Saturday's game on the back of a recent improvement in performances but with results showing only a marginal upturn.

They collected draws against Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion either side of the third-round replay win over Wycombe that set up Saturday's tie.

That followed Remi Garde's first win as Villa manager against Crystal Palace.

They remain odds-on for relegation, however, and will hope another extended run in a competition where they were beaten in the final by Arsenal last season will provide welcome relief for their long-suffering supporters as well as a confidence boost for their league campaign.

Villa are unbeaten in five games and defender Jores Okore said: "We need to go out and keep that run going. As long as we create chances we can go out and win.

"Last season's run to the final was really special. It was amazing to go to Wembley and go that far in a tournament with some quality teams.

"The semi-final win over Liverpool gave us a little spark and we showed we can beat any team on our day.

"It gave us a spark and we went and won the game - it helped us retain our Premier League status -- hopefully that can happen again this time round."


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