Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini knows his team will have to overcome a highly-motivated Everton – and a 2-1 deficit – to reach the Capital One Cup final.
City host the Toffees in the second leg of their semi-final at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, a match that is also the third meeting between the two clubs in three weeks.
With City having lost the first leg and been held to a goalless draw by Roberto Martinez’s men in the Barclays Premier League, the task is a testing one.
Pellegrini said: “It is the third time we are going to play against Everton in a month, so we know all about their team. We know the way they play and their important players.
“But our performance is more important in trying to decide this semi-final at home.
“It is as important for us as it is them, it is important to play in the final at Wembley.
“Maybe Everton, who have not been in a final in many years, will be more motivated but I am sure our team will do all they can to play the final.
“One of the most important things is to reflect desire, a desire to play another final at Wembley.”
City must chase the tie, with a 1-0 victory after 90 minutes enough to secure extra time, but Pellegrini will not let the aggregate score alter his game plan.
The Chilean said: “For both teams it is better not to play extra time but if we need to do it we will. I think it is more important to start not thinking about what you need and if you score an early goal to think the game is finished. We are not going to change our style of play.
“We need to win here. We will try to score from the beginning.”
City continue to fire in four competitions. If City were to go the full distance in all they could play another 32 games this term, more than twice that of title rivals Leicester, but Pellegrini is willing to take on the extra workload.
He said: “Maybe we will play more games than everyone else but I want to be involved in all competitions.
“From January 27 to February 27 we are going to play nine games, or 10 games if we have a replay, but I prefer that than being eliminated in these competitions.”
Pellegrini has confirmed Willy Caballero will take over from number one Joe Hart in goal, as he has for all domestic cup matches this season. The Argentinian is therefore likely to continue for Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Aston Villa.
This comes after Hart earned plaudits for his performance at West Ham last weekend but Pellegrini wants to reward Caballero for his good work on the training ground.
He said: “I think Joe Hart made a very good save from that free-kick, that is why he is our goalkeeper number one, but if we want to be involved in all the competitions we need the whole squad to do it. We cannot do it with just 11 players.
“I will try to make some changes and refresh the team because it is the only way to continue.
“(Caballero) will probably start the next two games. I trust a lot in Willy, he is a very good goalkeeper.
“One of the important reasons why Joe improves a lot is because he works with Willy every day and he feels he has competition behind him. I think Willy deserves to play these games.”