Ilkay Gundogan, the captain of Manchester City, claimed their shocking League Cup exit at struggling Southampton served as a “wake-up call” as they pursue Premier League leaders Arsenal.
Sekou Mara and Moussa Djenepo scored City’s goals at St. Mary’s on Wednesday, handing them a 2-0 quarterfinal loss despite not making a single shot on goal.
The visitors, who have won the competition eight times, were unable to mount a comeback, not even when Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland were brought on as replacements in the second half.
On Saturday, the defending Premier League champions face Manchester United at Old Trafford, and Gundogan claimed there was no room for error.
The Germany international, whose team is five points behind league-leading Arsenal, added, “There’s no tolerance for any mistakes, or for any poor performances.”
“Hopefully, this game served as a timely wake-up call if there is any positive to be gained from it.
“Even though it is heartbreaking and frustrating to be eliminated from this cup, hopefully in a few weeks we can look back and take something positive out of this game.”
Pep Guardiola, the manager of City, warned that if they played like they did against Southampton, they would have “no chance” of defeating a hot-headed United.
Every game and competition are unique, he declared. Of course, we won’t stand a chance if we act in this manner.
“We are going to strive to do exactly what we need to do to perform better,” said the team.
Nathan Jones, the under-pressure Southampton manager, hailed the finest outcome of his brief career.
The Welshman is optimistic about the future as he returns his focus to the Premier League relegation fight following the victory, which set up a two-legged semi-final with Newcastle.
Jones, whose team is in last place in the table going into Saturday’s match against fellow strugglers Everton, said of City: “They are one of the top teams in the world, with the most inventive manager of all time.”
“We knew we had to play at the top of our game, but we proved from the first minute to the end of the game that we can be a very good Premier League team.”