The League Cup has it’s critics but after going back and looking at City’s history in the competition, or, more specifically, the six year period in the 70s when we appeared in three finals, I have become washed up in the romanticism of it. It was a glorious period in our club’s history and the League Cup was central to it.
We won it in 70 and 76, and lost in the 74 final to Wolves. That odd, three-handled trophy was seen as a prestigious piece of silverware back then and after a 38-year absence from the final it would be great to bring it back to Manchester once more.
I think more than that, it provides Manuel Pellegrini with an opportunity to win his first major trophy as a manager in Europe, and it would not only be a just reward for him and his ability but also relieve some pressure and remove doubts about his suitability to manage one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League.
And for the squad, who finished last season empty-handed after that awful FA Cup final defeat to Wigan in May, it gives them an opportunity to right a few wrongs and show that this season we have a winning mentality.
At the Carrington media day earlier on this afternoon, Pellegrini spoke to the press and said that Matija Nastasic and Stevan Jovetic are unavailable for the game, but confirmed that Sergio Aguero is back and could be involved.
Jovetic and Nastasic are both injured. They cannot be there on Sunday. All the rest of the squad is okay. Richard Wright has a problem with his knee. Yes of course it is very important for the team to have Sergio again with us because he is a very important player.
It is always dangerous to play against any team. Sunderland has a lot of motivation to win that cup, the same as any team. Maybe we are the favourites but we cannot forget Sunderland eliminated Chelsea and Manchester United, big teams so I am absolutely sure it will be a tough game.
Not only for the team, for the whole club. All of us work together, the manager, the players, the rest of the staff, the owners. It is very important for the club to win the first trophy at Wembley.
For me the personal pleasure is to win a title, but not only to win but the way we win. The way I like to manage and play in every match.
It is not easy to choose the 11 starters. All the players deserve to play. A lot of them play the whole Capital One Cup. The others play the PL or the FA Cup or the Champions League because in that moment it was necessary for them to play in that competition. If we win the title, all the players will benefit so I will try to choose the best 11 starters for this team as I did in all the other games.
The defeat to Wigan is likely to to serve as a reminder to the squad that complacency will probably result in disappointment, but having spoken to some of the players today there’s little danger of that. They all recognise the mistakes that were made in May and say the mood in the camp is good.
Fernandinho told me that the manager’s calmness creates an atmosphere he enjoys. Let’s hope the others feel the same and that by 4pm on Sunday we have our first trophy of the Pellegrini era in the bag.
Written by Rob Pollard