Pep Guardiola has put the Premier League at the top of his trophy wish list after Manchester City reached the Carabao Cup final.
Runaway league leaders City will meet Arsenal or Chelsea in the Wembley final on February 25, the first of four trophies Guardiola’s side could win this season.
“I always say the next one is the most important,” Guardiola said after City’s 3-2 second-leg win at Bristol City on Tuesday night completed a 5-3 aggregate victory over their Sky Bet Championship opponents.
“But I like the Premier League a lot, because every single weekend or every three days you have to be ready. For me that is more important. The Champions League is the most beautiful, the most prestigious.
“But the Premier League is something special – like it was the LaLiga for me or the Bundesliga in Germany. After that the FA Cup is important, and now we are in the final of the League Cup we try to win that.
“We are going to prepare now for the next one against Cardiff (in the FA Cup) and that will be completely different to how we prepared for Bristol City, because Cardiff play a lot of long balls.”
City looked as if they would have to settle for an Ashton Gate draw after Marlon Pack and Aden Flint cancelled out goals from Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero.
But Kevin De Bruyne scored with the last kick of the match, rounding off another impressive display from the Belgian playmaker.
De Bruyne’s winner came the day after he had signed a new five-year City deal – and Guardiola could not hide his delight at the news.
“You can not imagine (how pleased I am),” Guardiola said. “It was a terrific week for us, in the past it was David Silva, Nico (Otamendi), Fernandinho, and now it is Kevin.
“These four players are so important for us, it’s massive news for us. We are so, so happy. I think it’s a highlight for these four players to be involved in our project in the next years.”
Bristol City’s memorable cup run saw them beat four Premier League sides – Watford, Stoke, Crystal Palace and Manchester United.
But promotion remains the priority and Robins boss Lee Johnson believes the cup run will benefit those Premier League ambitions, despite a loss of form around the semi-final.
“We still feel we’re a club on the rise,” said Johnson, whose side are fifth in the Championship and five points adrift of second-placed Derby.
“There’s a lot of points to play for and a lot of big games to come. People will say we’re in a bit of a dip in form, but I don’t see it that way.
“Individuals are playing well and with a full tank of energy we can play our game.
“This has been a chapter in the season which is closed now, and we want to write another good chapter for the run-in.”