Man City beats Cardiff; quadruple still on

But on top of that they have something else - a work ethic and application that's pretty much unparalleled.

"So proud, congratulations, in the draw hopefully we can have a team at home - that is my wish".

'We play a lot and we still have a lot to play.

Today's FA Cup tie at Cardiff is City's 37th match of the campaign and they could face another 30 should they reach the finals of both the FA Cup and Champions League.

City got it right from the off.

Guardiola's men had dropped their intensity to dangerously low levels and Cardiff sensed a route back into the contest, with substitute Anthony Pilkington nearly making an immediate impact from Morrison's set-piece knockdown before Hoilett's sweetly struck 25-yarder rippled the top of the netting.

Manchester City said on the team website that Leroy Sane was ruled guilty of the infraction, as well as interfering with Etheridge's line of sight.

A sell-out crowd at the Cardiff City Stadium was silenced in the eighth minute when Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring with a clever free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.

No Warnock side would lie down and give in at that, and to their credit the Championship team raised themselves and were nearly gifted an equaliser as Claudio Bravo dropped a long range shot from Junior Hoilett. It's hard to think on the pitch how to get the ball off them. "So for football in general, for the players, who are the artists, we have to take care of them".

The Citizens were hotly tipped to land former Arsenal attacker Alexis Sanchez throughout the course of the first half of the season, however were unwilling to match the player's large financial demands.

Sterling got the second goal for Pep Guardiola's charges in the 36th minute with a header inside the box following a cross from Bernardo Silva.

Hoilett was Cardiff's main attacking threat and curled an effort inches over Bravo's crossbar as Neil Warnock's Bluebirds created a rare chance.

Cardiff's Joe Bennett was lucky not to be sent off on the stroke of half-time as he cynically fouled Sane as the Germany worldwide stormed towards goal.

Guardiola said he had no problems with Cardiff's tough-tackling style and said he was proud of how his players coped with it.

Lengthy injuries to Delph, Stones, Kompany and Mendy, as well as those to Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero show how boulder-strewn the path to success can be.

While winning breeds confidence, Pep Guardiola has had it made painfully clear to him that there are other factors that could derail City's imperious march towards the pointy end of the season. Bravo spilled the shot backwards but the Chilean held it at the second attempt just as it was about to cross the goal-line. For all the benefits of technology it's unlikely to stop players from making desperate tackles in the heat of the moment.

The full-back would be sent off in stoppage time for catching the City substitute, Brahim Diaz.

Not for the first time in Manchester City colours, Claudio Bravo produced some unsound handling to nearly let a speculative Junior Hoillet effort in for an equaliser.

  • Julie Sanders