Manchester, January 10: Bristol City manager Lee Johnson believes the away goal scored by his side could still be pivotal despite a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final on Tuesday (January 9).
Johnson's men claimed a shock half-time lead thanks to a Bobby Reid penalty, but Kevin De Bruyne levelled for the Premier League leaders before Sergio Aguero headed home Bernardo Silva's right-wing cross in stoppage time.
The Championship side – quarter-final conquerors of Manchester United – have now lost their last four games in all competitions, but Johnson claims the Robins can make it to Wembley at the expense of Pep Guardiola's side.
"I'm very proud of my team," Johnson told Sky Sports. "We're disappointed with the goal late on, but the boys were magnificent. We tried to play our own game and we caused them problems.
"It's only half-time in the tie and we're still in it, particularly after scoring an away goal. I said to the boys that they've been fantastic. Yes we rode our luck at times, but we got men in the box.
"Our pressing was amazing and there was some very good football played at times. There is disappointment, but we're still in the tie."
LJ: "The home leg is going to be a difficult game for Manchester City. Everyone heard our 8,000 fans tonight - there will be 27,000 at our place." #MCYvBRC— Bristol City FC (@bcfctweets) January 9, 2018
Guardiola was full of praise for his opponents' attacking spirit and Johnson said the Catalan had given the underdogs full credit for their impact on an entertaining encounter.
"We stuck to the task and we didn't get beaten by one-twos," added the 36-year-old.
"We had opportunities and Pep said to me that we played better than majority of the Premier League teams who come here.
"I think our boys will take a lot from it, but we have to remember that it's not over. I think we have to respect the quality of the opposition, but we showed a good account of ourselves.
"It was always going to be half-time and the away goal is very important. We tried to score and didn't park the bus."
LJ: "It's heartbreaking to concede the goal so late. The away goal is very important. We tried to score, never parked the bus and we can go home very proud." #MCYvBRC— Bristol City FC (@bcfctweets) January 9, 2018