Manuel Pellegrini welcomed Manchester City’s progress through to the Capital One Cup semi-finals – but was equally delighted to see playmaker David Silva make his first start in two months.
An early goal from Wilfried Bony should have been the platform for a comfortable win, but it was not until a strike from 19-year-old substitute Kelechi Iheanacho and a Kevin De Bruyne brace in the last 10 minutes that the match was wrapped up.
Hull left-back Andrew Robertson scored an even later consolation but, in truth, three-time winners City were not really stretched at any point, with their superior fitness taking effect in the latter stages as they secured a 4-1 victory.
Another cause of celebration for Pellegrini though was seeing Silva completing 83 minutes of the match.
“The most important thing was to qualify for the semi-final but after that it was important for David to have 80 minutes after a long injury,” said Pellegrini.
“It was important for Bony to have 65 minutes after a muscle injury and Kelechi a young player to score.
“I am very pleased because I think it was a difficult game against a good team that is at the top of the table in the Championship.
“More than that we played the third game in less than one week and we have a very good response from the team with different names.”
“(Pablo) Zabaleta and (Vincent) Kompany are out, Joe Hart can be fit, I am not sure for Saturday but if not for Tuesday,” he added.
“Kun (Sergio Aguero) has a pain in his heel. He is improving and we will see tomorrow or Thursday if he can play on Saturday.
“Fernando has a small problem but I think can play on Saturday. Jesus (Navas) has a problem in his ankle.”
Bruce defends Hull selection
Hull City manager Steve Bruce defended his team selection after a much-changed side were beaten at the Etihad Stadium.
Ahead of their Championship tie against Leeds on Saturday, Bruce left out several of his first choice starting line-up, including top scorer Abel Hernandez.
Bruce’s side trailed 1-0 at half-time, but City’s attack proved too much late on for Hull as three goals in the last 10 minutes saw them run out 4-1 winners over Bruce’s side.
Despite only introducing Hernandez in the 68th minute, Bruce has defended his team selection.
“The same squad beat Leicester and beat Swansea so I have got to stay true to them if I am going to back my word up and say you are going to play in the cup if you don’t play in the league,” said Bruce.
“And we lost on Friday (at Derby). Is it really going to make any difference when you come to Man City?
“If we needed a reminder how cruel it was to play against the big boys, we just had one.
“After 80 minutes we just had our best spell of the match and after 87 minutes it was 4-0. It was never a 4-1.
“The one thing we needed to do in the second half was cause them a few more problems.
“Defensively, apart from the goal, I can’t remember them creating a chance in the first half even though they had huge possession.
“We needed to stay in the cup tie. Up until 81 minutes, we were in there. Then they punished us.”