Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is already relishing the prospect of an FA Cup semi-final derby with Manchester United.
The bitter rivals are set to meet at Wembley in April after a sluggish City defeated Championship outfit Reading 1-0 in Sunday’s quarter-final.
Micah Richards ensured City’s progression to the last four with a precise header from David Silva’s corner kick in the 74th minute.
It was a rare moment of dominance for the top-flight side, who were clearly worn out from their trip to Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League on Thursday.
Mancini was nevertheless thrilled with the victory; though he admitted City have a massive challenge on their hands facing United.
“It is a great semi-final,” said City manager Manicni. “You could see what it meant to the fans at the end.”
“We are not fresh or 100 per cent at this moment but we deserved to win. We had 17 attempts on goal.”
“We are very close with all the top squads but we need to improve more and maybe next year we will be at the same level.”
“But it is important that we played a good game at Old Trafford last time and we have a chance to win, like them.”
United have already beaten their cross-town rivals 2-1 in the Premier League this season, a game made famous by Wayne Rooney’s astonishing overhead kick winner.
Reading boss Brian McDermott admitted he was contemplating a draw as the second half was playing out, and was gutted by Richards’ winning header just 16 minutes from time.
“I thought we were going to get at least a draw,” McDermott said.
“We pushed Manchester City a long way and if Tevez had beaten five and Silva had produced a piece of magic it would have been a bit different. But to lose at a set play was galling.”
“You could see what it meant to them the way they celebrated at the end.”
“Unfortunately, you are not going to get the semi-final everyone wanted; Manchester United versus Reading.”