Garcia and Doyle impress Guardiola as Man City progress in EFL Cup

Manchester City youngsters Eric Garcia and Tommy Doyle made their mark against Southampton, much to Pep Guardiola's delight.

Manchester City's Tommy Doyle excelled in his midfield role against Southampton in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.   -  Getty Images

Pep Guardiola was impressed with the performances of youngsters Eric Garcia and Tommy Doyle in Manchester City's EFL Cup victory over Southampton.

Defending champion City eased into the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win on Tuesday – Nicolas Otamendi and Sergio Aguero getting on the scoresheet before Jack Stephens snatched a consolation for the visitor.

With City suffering an injury crisis in defence, teenager Garcia partnered Otamendi at centre-back, while Doyle played in a holding midfield role behind Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden. Their displays drew praise from manager Guardiola, who believes the EFL Cup provides the perfect opportunity to test City's fringe players.

"Eric Garcia has once again played a high level, like has this season and last season in the EFL Cup," Guardiola told City's official website.

"He didn't make one mistake. Tommy, as well, played well in a position that isn't his natural his position.

"We had just one holding midfielder available - Ilkay Gundogan - and he's played a lot of games.

"I thought he played really well. Congratulations on his debut. We have Fernandinho who can play there but he is playing centre-back and was suspended.

"That's why Tommy played. I didn't have another alternative. He was with us in pre-season and I've seen him in the academy. I didn't have any doubts he would play a good level," he said.

Success in the EFL Cup has provided City with a springboard to win further trophies in the previous two campaigns, and Guardiola's side seem well placed to push on again this term, with two of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool to drop out of contention on Wednesday.

"This competition is good to move the team on. We played seriously; the quality of our passing was high," Guardiola said.

"It's not easy to attack the system Southampton had, with eight players back and fast players up front. It was a good game and we go through to the quarterfinals.

"You cannot win four titles in one season when you don't play games so seriously. For the players who didn't play the last games it's good for me to see the rhythm they have and I was happy with what I saw."

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