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Manchester City would not toast League Cup victory with alcohol, says Pep Guardiola

Timothy Abraham
Win or lose at Wembley and we shall not have a booze, says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola - Manchester City FC

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has banned his players from having a celebratory beer if they beat Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final. City could lift the first trophy of Guardiola’s spell at the club with victory over the Gunners at Wembley but, with a Premier League fixture against the same opponents on Thursday at the Emirates, Guardiola wants his players in peak physical and mental condition.

The 47-year-old is renowned for his meticulous approach to matches and drinking will not be part of the post-match revelry for his players.

“Normally there is no alcohol,” Guardiola said. “But I think talking about the celebration before the game is stupid, it makes no sense. Before the celebration we have to play a game.”

City’s hopes of an unprecedented quadruple were ended last Monday after an FA Cup fifth-round defeat by League One Wigan Athletic.

Guardiola admits there is some anxiety in the City camp as they prepare for playing Arsenal because it will be the first English domestic final for a number of the club’s players.

But he urged his side to relax and enjoy the occasion while making sure when the final whistle goes they have given everything.

“In the first finals you are more nervous than the next one,” he explained. “I try to say to the players to play more like a friendly game to be more calm, but also with more courage.

“I think it’s a game we have to try to enjoy the most, it’s a final. We are here to play these types of game, why to be nervous? Why to worry about win, win, win.

“It’s just a game. But no regrets after the game. It’s too late for ‘I didn’t do what I should do’ because it’s a final.”

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has won on each of his last nine trips to Wembley when it’s been a neutral venue and since April 2014 has won three FA Cup semi-finals, three FA Cup finals and three Community Shields.

His only defeat at the venue was against Tottenham Hotspur in a Premier League game this season.

“He’s special,” Guardiola said of Wenger. “To be at Arsenal for a long time in the same place is because you are comfortable there, and the people are comfortable with you.

“If you are there for a long time it’s because you are good. It’s simple like that. Because you have passion and you are enjoying your job.”