… and that’s all she wrote. Thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night!
By contrast, Pep Guardiola cuts to the chase on BBC Radio. “The better team won. 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.”
Nathan Jones, in a robust mood, speaks to Sky Sports. “I’m really proud. I’m proud of my players. I’m proud of myself and my coaching staff, because lots of people have been questioning certain things. So that goes a little way to justifying why we’re here and what we’re trying to create. I’m really proud of my football club, and how we’ve come through a tough time. It’s the second cup win in a week, and shows we’re building something. The performance levels have been there in the last four games. It’s just that we’ve given silly goals away and not given ourselves a real chance. Tonight we’ve been excellent, but it’s been building. Bear in mind I’ve only just been in the job, three Premier League games. Yeah, we had the Liverpool game but I’d one day to prepare. I’m not David Blaine, you know what I mean? I understand people’s frustrations but we’re building. The cliche is Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was a wonderful Southampton side, but we are on the way. We need time to change the direction, the momentum. It’s tough. Sometimes you have to take a little of the proverbial, and I’ve had to do that, but I’m clear, I’m strong. A born-again Christian, so God’s will is right there for me and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I would like an element of realism elsewhere, and if I get that, and we’re all together, we can do something here. At least I won’t get any abuse on my way home!”
Southampton v Newcastle United
Nottingham Forest v Manchester United
These two-legged ties will take place w/c 23 January and 30 January. Saints and Forest will be at home in the first leg.
The semi-final draw is coming up soon … but in the meantime, why not catch up with what went on at the City Ground? Ben Fisher was there to see Nottingham Forest squeak past Wolverhampton Wanderers on penalties, and his report is here.
Saints captain James Ward-Prowse speaks to Sky: “A special night. These games are special to play in, especially when you’re struggling in the league. We knew this was a distraction for us, a great game for us to showcase what we’re about, with no fear. I think we showed the true Southampton tonight. The manager has come in and been excellent. He’s given us a fresh idea and new energy. It was a bit like the old Southampton tonight, bold and aggressive and on the front foot. That’s when we’re at our best. To put in a performance like we did tonight means nothing if we don’t get anything from Everton [at the weekend]. It’s a fantastic game for us to go into full of confidence.”
Gavin Bazunu – who marshalled a Saints defence that didn’t allow City a single shot on target, something that hasn’t happened for four years – adds: “It’s not just me, it’s the whole team. We’ve worked so hard since the new manager’s come in on defending the box and being so hard to beat. We need to be a hard team to play against.”
Ed Aarons was at St Mary’s tonight, and his report has landed. Here it is!
The last four of the 2022-23 League Cup.
Draw coming up soon! Stay tuned!
Jones kept his gameface on during the post-match celebrations. But the mask slipped after he went down the tunnel, where he was caught on camera jubilantly cavorting with a member of his backroom staff. He deserves his moment. His team were immense.
Nathan Jones has been under pressure at Southampton, despite being in the job for less than two minutes. Four straight defeats in the Premier League tend to crank up that sort of thing these days, especially if the team is rock bottom. But this is huge. Before the game, he said: “The result is paramount … but first we need a performance, because if you don’t get that, you don’t get the result. But we’d love a performance and a result.” Well, he got both. Saints were magnificent, and deserved their reward of a place in the last four. This result may well kick-start their Premier League campaign, too. If they continue to play with this determination, concentration and intensity, survival is far from a pipe dream. As for City … just the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League still to play for. It’s not all lost.
PENALTIES: Nottingham Forest 4-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers. Sam Surridge missed the first penalty of the shootout for Forest, but Ruben Neves couldn’t convert the first one for Wolves. Seven successful kicks followed, before Joe Hodge missed Wolves’ last. The four-time winners are through to the semi-finals!
What a result for Southampton! What a result for Nathan Jones, who might have won a few fans over tonight! He’s certainly won the respect of Pep Guardiola, who congratulates him warmly.
90 min +6: On Sky, Don Goodman names Moussa Djenepo as his man of the match.
90 min +5: Some more keep-ball from Saints. City eventually force them to play the ball out for a goal kick. A Hail Mary is launched. The ball comes in from the right. Foden heads harmlessly wide, and that is surely that.
90 min +4: The home fans are giving it plenty. Marching in. And no wonder: a corner for Saints down the right. They’re almost home and hosed. “Ah well,” begins Richard Hirst, “at least Pep has found that discarded kit hamper of grey shirts in the corner of the dressing room and can take them up to Manchester to give to United at the weekend. So it hadn’t been a completely wasted day.”
90 min +3: Ward-Prowse and Walker-Peters play a little keep-ball near the right-hand corner flag. Saints are so close to a deserved victory now!
90 min +2: Time for Adams on the edge of the City box. He thinks about shooting but Orsic has a go instead. Blocked. No matter, because this is the end of the pitch Saints want to be. Walker-Peters then dribbles down the right and draws a foul from Alvarez. Free kick, and the clock ticks on.
90 min: Rodri clumsily clatters into Ward-Prowse, putting an end to a period of City pressure. There will be six added minutes. Put another way, Saints are six minutes away from the semis. Put another way, Pep is six minutes away from tasting quarter-final defeat in a domestic cup for the first time in his entire career. He’s 15 from 15 so far.
89 min: Saints string a few passes together. The crowd entertain themselves with a few olés. Too soon?
88 min: Rodri floats a diagonal ball into the Saints box from the left. Haaland gets in ahead of everyone and attempts to flick the ball on into the right-hand side of the net from six yards. But he doesn’t really connect – does he connect at all? – and Bazunu flops onto the dropping ball. For a nanosecond there, you expected the net to ripple.
87 min: De Bruyne embarks on what looks like a dangerous run down the right, but then cuts a ball back to nobody in particular. Ake has to turn tail to retrieve the ball and City’s momentum is gone.
86 min: With time running out for City, Cancelo concedes a foul throw. In the dugout, Pep seethes quietly. You can bet his internal monologue is running a tad louder.
FULL TIME: Nottingham Forest 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers. It’s going to penalties at the City Ground.
84 min: Rodri crosses from the right towards Haaland, but Lyanco is on hand to intercept and blooter clear. “City look tired and disinterested like Belgium looked in the World Cup,” suggests Jeff Sachs.
83 min: Armstrong has run himself into the ground and is replaced by Southampton debutant Orsic.
82 min: Some head tennis in the Saints box. This is backs-to-the-wall stuff now. But the ball breaks to Bazunu, who claims, then drops to the ground as keepers are wont to do these days. Textbook clock management.
80 min: Foden swings the free kick in harmlessly. Lyanco clears. Huge cheers from the home fans. Then a pause and a chance for Saints to catch their breath as Perraud accidentally catches Alvarez in the face. Argentina’s World Cup winner goes down, but with the clock ticking on, and no free kick coming their way, gets back up soon enough.
79 min: This match has a real basketball rhythm now. Foden storms down the middle of the park only to be crudely hacked down by Diallo, who goes into the book. A free kick 30 yards out, just to the left of centre.
78 min: City go up the other end, Gundogan dribbling into the box from the left and crossing low. Alvarez slides in, hoping to ram home, but again Bazunu smothers and won’t be beaten.
77 min: Gundogan attempts to dance his way into the Saints box down the middle, but he’s swarmed. The hosts clear. The visitors come again. A long ball to look for Haaland. Bazunu comes romping out of his box to slam upfield. Walker-Peters sashays into the box from the right. He cuts back for Ward-Prowse, whose shot is on target but deflected towards Adams on the edge of the six-yard box. Adams slots home, but the flag goes up correctly for offside!
75 min: On the touchline, Nathan Jones loudly orders his players to keep on moving. To be fair to his players, Saints haven’t stopped all night.
73 min: De Bruyne wedges gracefully down the right in the hope of releasing Cancelo, but the flag goes up for offside. City’s play isn’t betraying any impatience or irritation … but a few of their players’ expressions are illustrating angst. Furrowed brows a-plenty.
71 min: A City goal will change everything, and with this in mind, De Bruyne works his way down the right. He curls in low for Haaland, who nearly meets the ball six yards out when sliding in, only to be denied by a brave smother at his feet by Bazunu.