Pep Guardiola could not resist a poke at his critics after being asked why Manchester City always show respect to the cup competitions.
But after getting used to previous managers playing a mixture of fringe squad players and academy prospects in domestic cup competitions, City fans have been constantly surprised by the strength of teams Guardiola has fielded, even against lowly opposition.
They were shocked to see Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Bernardo Silva turning out against Port Vale in the third round, just three days before the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against United, in January.
But Guardiola resisted the opportunity to say he simply believes in showing respect to the competitions.
Instead, he said it was entirely down to having such a wealth of talent at his disposal.
“We have incredible players and a rich, rich club so that’s why we have a lot of players and we can use them,” he said.
And that prompted a jab at the critics who proclaim him to be a “chequebook manager” who has only ever succeeded with money to spend.
“That’s my success! I told you the other day,” he said. “This is the secret!”
After that jocular outburst, he said that he has always wanted to win every trophy on offer.
“Always I thought in Barcelona and Munich as well, the FA Cup is… if we won three Carabao Cups in a row it’s because we were focussed to win it, now we are doing it in the FA Cup too. So there are no doubts about this.”