London (AFP) – Burton Albion will need a “miracle” to overcome the might of Premier League champions Manchester City over two legs in the League Cup semi-final according to manager Nigel Clough, but he is no stranger to producing Cup upsets.
Son of legendary manager Brian Clough, who led Nottingham Forrest to win two European Cups, Clough was in his first spell in charge when Burton, then in English football’s fifth tier, held a Manchester United boasting Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney 0-0 in the FA Cup in 2006.
Burton have since progressed to the third tier in League One, but Clough believes stopping Pep Guardiola’s City, particularly when they travel to the Etihad on Wednesday, is an even tougher task.
“I think this one over two legs,” said Clough, when asked to compare which was the tougher challenge.
“When Rooney and Ronaldo came on after 59 minutes here for Manchester United, it’s a similar sort of prospect with the likes of the quality that Manchester City have.
“But away from home, it’s a different thing. When they are on their own patch, as you saw against Liverpool, they’re as good and as confident as anything.”
Clough also masterminded Sheffield United’s run to the last four of both the League and FA Cup when in League One in two seasons at Bramall Lane between 2013 and 2015.
However, in eliminating Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough of the Championship and Premier League strugglers Burnley, Burton haven’t yet faced anyone of City’s calibre.
“We’ve not gone into any detail with them because that will frighten the life out of them,” admitted Clough. “They know. They watch Match of the Day every week. They know exactly how good they are.
“To reach the League Cup semi-final, in some ways the job is done.
“But we still have an outside chance of achieving a miracle, and that’s what we’ll try for.”
Clough won the League Cup twice as a player under his father’s tutelage at Forrest before a big money move to Liverpool in 1993 and then joining City in 1995 at a time when Premier League survival rather than dominance was the target at Maine Road.
The modern day Abu-Dhabi backed City are still in the hunt for four competitions as after closing the gap on Liverpool to four points at the top of the Premier League table, they thrashed Rotherham 7-0 on Sunday despite naming a much-changed side.
“We do what we have to do to become a great, great club,” warned Guardiola. “The great clubs don’t choose competitions, don’t choose games, you have to do your job.”
The next job for the champions is to end Clough’s dream of leading his side out at Wembley as his father did so often with Forrest.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Senegal’s president supports Gueye after homophobia accusations
- Roofe gives Rangers cover for Europa League final
- Lucky trousers, big dreams as Glasner leads Frankfurt to Europa League final
- Hamburg relishing play-off bid to return to Bundesliga
- Houghton picked in provisional England squad for women’s Euros
- Sebastian Hoeness sacked by Hoffenheim
- Ranking World Cup 2022 stadiums from best to worst
- Brazilian football clubs open doors to foreign investors
- Where to find Southampton vs. Liverpool on US TV
- Where to find Nottingham Forest vs. Sheffield United on US TV