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Sky Blue News: Sewing up Saints, Derby Incoming, Transfer Talk, and More...

Friday morning headlines form Bitter and Blue.

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Southampton v Manchester City - Carabao Cup Quarter Final Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Manchester City must quickly put their Carabao Cup loss to Southampton behind them and turn their focus toward Manchester United and a trip to Old Trafford in the Premier League. Sky Blue News is here with all the latest to get you ready for the 189th Manchester Derby.

“There’s nothing more to say” – Ilkay Gundogan left frustrated by Man City performance in Southampton Cup exit - Freddie Pye - City Xtra

A hugely underwhelming first-half performance from the four-time League Cup winners under Pep Guardiola left City with a monumental mountain to climb in the second 45 minutes.

A quick-fire double from Southampton, opened by Sekou Mara on 23 minutes and added to by Moussa Djenepo on 28 minutes, forced Pep Guardiola into a triple substitution on half-time, before adding Erling Haaland to his fire-power later on in the second-half.

However, it was too little too late, as City continued to struggle in testing the Southampton defence and former goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.

Speaking after the defeat at St Mary’s, City captain Gundogan admitted that this was a performance in all aspects that the reigning Premier League champions were not used to seeing, before congratulating their opponents on a ‘decent’ performance.

“Yes, it’s very disappointing,” said Gundogan. “At the end it feels like we didn’t deserve a better result, unfortunately, because the performance was not good enough at all.”

Manchester City Bow Out of League Cup, Lose 0-2: Reaction & Tweets - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue

Add bad performances from Joao Cancelo, Sergio Gomez and Kalvin Phillips and Pep had got the whole first 45 minutes wrong. It was enough to lose as they could not overcome it.

On to the reaction-

“The best team won. They were better.”

“I have the feeling today that it doesn’t matter the line-up, the performance happens...”

“We were not ready [to reach the Carabao Cup semi-finals]...”

We didn’t play good, didn’t play well in the beginning. Many games you can start not good and overcome, we didn’t. When you’re not prepared to play this, arrive one inch late and don’t score. When you are prepared, you score the goal...”

“Today was a bad night, the opponent was better so we have to congratulate them. To win games you have to deserve it and tonight we didn’t deserve it.”


Gundogan is under no illusion that we are set to face a flourishing United side under Erik ten Hag but he’s excited by the challenge.

He said: “I know what we are able to do on the pitch – we all know. It’s just about having the right attitude, being ready to take on every challenge.

“Right now, I’m confident, even though I’m still frustrated, sad and disappointed from [the Southampton] game.

“I’m confident we are going to show a different phase on Saturday in the derby.”

Our opponents on Saturday, United, are fourth in the Premier League table.

Stuart Attwell is appointed referee for Manchester United vs Manchester City - Henry Brookbanks - City Report

Stuart Attwell has officiated 13 games this season, dishing out 54 yellow cards and 2 red cards. The last time Attwell took charge of a game involving Manchester City was at the back end of December, when the blues beat Leeds United 3-1 away from home.

Saturday will mark Manchester City’s 20th game with Attwell as referee, the blues have won 15 of the previous 19, only losing 3. The 40 year old has yet to officiate a Manchester Derby and no doubt there will be eyes closely watching his every decision.

Full Appointments:

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Assistants: Gary Beswick, Darren Cann.

Fourth official: Robert Jones.

VAR: Michael Oliver.

Assistant VAR: Nick Hopton.

Joao Cancelo hurtling towards possible Man City exit as rivals notice change in pecking order - Gill Clark - Goal

WHAT’S HAPPENING? Cancelo appears to be facing an uncertain future at Man City. The defender has only started once since the World Cup which has sparked interest from clubs across Europe, as reported by The Telegraph. Champions League clubs in Italy, Spain, Germany and Italy are all keeping tabs on his situation and could make a move in the summer transfer window.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The 28-year-old has become a key player for City after a slow start since signing from Juventus in 2019 but is currently enduring a difficult spell with the Premier League champions. Guardiola has recently placed his trust in 18-year-old Rico Lewis and has been rewarded with some impressive performances from the youngster. The Man City boss praised Lewis for his display against Liverpool and said he “changed the game” when he arrived at half-time in their win over Chelsea.

AND WHAT’S MORE: Cancelo is contracted to Man City until 2027 and has said he wants to stay at the club for many more years. However, it remains to be seen if that will still be the case come the end of the season should he continue to spend more time on the bench than in the starting XI.

AC Milan make Rafael Leao contract talks admission amid Manchester City links - Isaac Johnson - Manchester Evening News

Leao has 18 months left on his contract and Milan are keen to tie him down to another deal to quell the speculation around his future this summer. And club legend-turn-chief Maldini says he believes the youngster is willing to extend his stay at the San Siro.

“As far as Leao is concerned , the situation is clear. We are talking, there are video calls and we don’t have to meet in person,” he told Mediaset. “We will try to arrive at a solution. Both sides seem to want it and now we want to try and get closure.

“As we have tried to do in the last year and a half where many things have happened: our will is there and that of the player seems to be there.”

Leao admitted last month that he follows the Premier League and hinted that a future move could be on the cards, albeit recommitted himself to Milan. Speaking regarding a transfer away down the line, he said: “Experience in a new league?

And finally... Liam is off again, this time to help out at Preston North End. Good luck, Liam.

Liam Delap Joins PNE On Loan From Manchester City -

Liam, an England U20 international, arrives at Deepdale with experience of training regularly with the Manchester City first team, and he has also featured in the Premier League and Champions League.

Speaking after signing, Liam said: “I’m buzzing. It’s such a great club and I’m really excited to meet the boys and play in front of the fans.

“I’ve spoken to the manager and I’m really happy with what he’s got to say and the style of football he plays, so I can’t wait to get playing under him.

“As a striker at the end of the day, the manager wants goals so that’s what he’s said to me.

“I trust myself in front of goal. I trust myself to get in the right positions so if I get the opportunity then hopefully I can bring that.”

The teenager joined parent club City from Derby County in July 2019 and his first professional contract followed a year later.

There you have it. Stay with us at Bitter and Blue as we cover the build-up to the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford.