Guardiola aims sly dig at Klopp's FA Cup snub: I won't diss the humble competition
Pep Guardiola aimed what appeared to be a dig at Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp after Manchester City booked their place in the Carabao Cup final.
City will face Aston Villa at Wembley on March 1, after a 3-2 aggregate win over Manchester United in the semi-final – despite losing 1-0 at home in Wednesday’s second leg.
Guardiola made a point of the fact he has continued to name strong teams in the Carabao Cup, despite many fans seeing it as the least important trophy on offer.
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Klopp has come in for criticism from some quarters in recent days after pledging to play his reserves in Liverpool’s FA Cup fourth-round replay against Shrewsbury, which Klopp will also not be attending.
“People say we are complacent about what we have won,” Guardiola told reporters.
“You don’t try to diss the humble competition of the season, if you are not able to do it [win the Premier League] three times in a row with big games in the Premier League and Champions League and everyone there.
“When you win a lot, they say this competition does not matter, but with me this does not happen. It doesn’t matter, we try to do it.
“Being at Wembley with a historic team like Villa, we are happy to be there.”
Liverpool threw away a 2-0 lead away at Shrewsbury on Sunday, adding yet another fixture to a packed calendar for Klopp’s side this season.
The German was annoyed that the replay was organised for February 4 during the Premier League’s designated winter break, and vowed that neither he nor his first team would interrupt a much-needed break.
That has not been a popular choice in some quarters. Accrington Stanley chairman Andy Holt launched into an expletive-filled rant on Twitter, branding Klopp a “disgrace”.
“You're tarnishing your reputation,” he wrote. “Rethink where you go from here. You're killing the FA Cup. There are calls to kill the Carabao Cup. You're killing us."
Liverpool crashed out of the Carabao Cup in unusual fashion earlier in the season, as their tie with Aston Villa clashed with their Club World Cup campaign.
A team of reserves and youngsters was thrashed 5-0 at Villa Park, but the defeat does not appear to have weighed to heavily on the Reds.
They stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League table to a scarcely believable 19 points on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over West Ham – completing the set of beating all 19 of the other teams in the league this season.