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So what can City do to a mid-table side from League One? And how unthinkable an upset is a Burton Albion victory, especially since manager Nigel Clough was “staggered” by reaching the semi via a defeat of Middlesbrough?
Well, let’s think on it.
Burton Albion’s only defeat of a Premier League team this season is a 2-1 take down of visiting Burnley, and all five of their League Cup wins have come by single goals.
And while City may have lost to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup last season, that was not in a round on the precipice of a final.
Clough, no stranger to the upper reaches of competition, puts its plainly. From The Telegraph:
“It’s almost a bye to the final for City. I don’t think we can go into it thinking we’ve got a fighting chance of winning it,” he says, deadly serious. “If we beat them over two legs, it will be the biggest shock of all time. I don’t know what Pep’s thinking will be but I would imagine it will be to make the second leg irrelevant. But we’ve got to try and do the opposite to that and try to retain a glimmer of hope.”
What is Pep thinking, then (Let’s keep up the thinking theme)?
“Winning is important,” he said. “The Carabao Cup is the more local competition. Everybody is happy to win and nobody is sad if they go out in the competition. We are here in the semi-final and we want to win.”
Burton beating Man City over two legs would be on par with Leicester City winning the Premier League. Is that too bold to say?