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Burton's fighting spirit can count for a lot against Man City – Nigel Clough

PA | 2mo
Clough will take his League One side north to the Etihad Stadium to face Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions on Wednesday night.

Nigel Clough recognises the gulf in class between his Burton side and Manchester City, but believes their fighting spirit can count for a lot in the Carabao Cup semi-final.

Clough will take his League One side north to the Etihad Stadium to face Pep Guardiola's Premier League champions on Wednesday night, having not even dared show them any scouting videos.

But it is not by accident that his side have seen off Aston Villa, Burnley, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough in this competition so far and he wants them to show what they can do.

"It's just the determination and the character, which is why we've got to this stage," he said.

"Ability-wise we're at a different level but we have a certain grit and determination.

"It doesn't work in all the games and we have had more luck in this competition than within the league over the four or five games."

League One Wigan knocked City out of the FA Cup last season, but that was a one-off match, and Clough believes for Burton to repeat the trick in a two-legged tie and reach Wembley would resemble one of the biggest cup shocks ever.

"Wigan beat them at home with one shot," he said. "Over one leg you can do that but over 180 minutes it's a different ball game, especially with the first one being at their place."

Clough has proud memories of the League Cup, having won it twice as a player in his father's Nottingham Forest side.

The League Cup may no longer be everyone's cup of tea – with Guardiola admitting it was fourth out of four on his list of priorities this season – but it was under Brian that Nigel learned standards should be maintained whatever the occasion.

Even though Forest beat Oldham 1-0 in the final in 1990, an unimpressed Brian Clough ordered his players in for extra training the next day.

"It wasn't about winning, it was about the performance as well," Nigel said. "It was standards. We didn't play particularly well and we were in."

The elder Clough ordered his players to run six sides of the pitch, but it turned out to be many more.

"Des Walker, who could run all day, said: 'I don't care, I've got my bonus.'," Nigel recalled.

"And my dad would say: 'Yes, you have. You can all go and do one more.'

"It went on with Des until someone pulled him to one side and had a word with him. We must have done it 10 times before he was wrestled to the floor."

Those standards persisted no matter the occasion.

"We went to Plymouth to play in John Uzzell's testimonial. We were four-down at half-time," he said.

"He wasn't happy. He came in the dressing-room at half-time and said: 'Every goal you concede in the second-half, I'm fining you £100.' We conceded another one to lose 5-0 and it was taken out of our money.

"Those were the standards. That's why they stayed the same for every single match."



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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914
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Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914
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