Pep Guardiola thanked Manchester City's academy after handing debuts to five youngsters in Tuesday's EFL Cup win over Wycombe Wanderers.

City, who have won the EFL Cup in each of the last four seasons, stormed to a 6-1 victory over their third-tier opposition at the Etihad Stadium.

Wycombe did take a shock lead through Brandon Hanlan, but Kevin De Bruyne's strike swiftly restored parity before Riyad Mahrez and the excellent Phil Foden put City in control.

Ferran Torres, Mahrez and substitute Cole Palmer – another academy graduate – got in on the act after the break.

All four of City's defenders were debutants, with each player born after the turn of the century, while holding midfielder Romeo Lavia was also making his senior bow.

Guardiola had said ahead of the tie he had no alternative but to call on City's youngsters, and he was not let down by what he saw.

"I am just going to say thank you very much to all the academy," he said.

"They have many good players, not just one or two. All of them are incredibly well-educated people. Thanks to their families. We have talented players. We can count on them absolutely."

With so much inexperience in the side, Foden – playing in midfield – was seen as an older head, despite being aged just 21.

Having had a delayed start to his campaign after sustaining an injury during Euro 2020, Foden clicked fully into gear with a hugely impressive display.

His goal was a venomous strike from long range that was too good for Wycombe goalkeeper David Stockdale, with the playmaker then providing the assist for Torres' goal having earlier teed up De Bruyne's leveller.

Foden had four attempts, while only Mahrez created as many chances (seven).

"Of course, definitely [impressed]," Guardiola said of Foden's display.

"Phil was injured for two months after the national team. Phil doesn't need many games to get his rhythm because he lives for football 24 hours a day. He is sharp."

De Bruyne also played the full 90 minutes, with Guardiola saying: "Kevin needs time for a proper pre-season. He was injured in the Champions League final and for the national team.

"He needs his rhythm to be fit. That's why it was so good for him to play 90 minutes today. Knowing he is not in the right condition. Now is the moment for Kevin to start to be ready.

"He has not been running back like he runs forward. Today he did it for the first time. He will be back because he is an incredible player."

Manchester City's much-changed side negotiated their way into the EFL Cup fourth round with a 6-1 win over Wycombe Wanderers.

As promised, Pep Guardiola called on City's academy on Tuesday, handing five players – including all four defenders – their debuts.

That inexperience proved a vulnerability when Brandon Hanlan gave third-tier Wycombe the lead 22 minutes in, though City's quality up front told as the hosts took control by half-time.

Kevin De Bruyne restored parity with a superb finish before Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden made life more comfortable for the holders.

Ferran Torres got in on the act and Mahrez grabbed a second to put the result beyond all doubt, with Cole Palmer's first senior goal adding further gloss.

City missed some presentable chances early on and were made to pay. Zack Steffen's weak punch from a corner fell to Ryan Tafazolli, who squared to the unmarked Hanlan to lash home.

Sparked into life, however, City hit straight back – De Bruyne finding the right-hand corner after cutting in from the left following Foden's pass.

A venomous Raheem Sterling effort cracked against the left-hand post as City clicked into gear, with the same upright then denying De Bruyne a second.

Yet Wycombe's luck ran out prior to half-time. Joshua Wilson-Esbrand capped off an impressive run by squaring for Mahrez to sweep home, before the power on Foden's strike did for Wycombe keeper David Stockdale.

Anthony Stewart tried his luck from range as Wycombe searched for a way back into the game, before Jordan Obita was denied by Steffen.

Any slender comeback hopes were swiftly ended, though, with Foden sliding across for Torres to tuck in from close range.

There was time for more – Mahrez helping himself to a second before substitute Palmer rounded off an emphatic win with a crisp finish.

Manchester City's academy players will get the chance to shine when the holders face Wycombe Wanderers in the EFL Cup.

The Premier League champions host third-tier Wycombe in the third round on Tuesday.

City head into the tie on the back of a frustrating goalless draw with Southampton, albeit they were fortunate to come away from that match with a point after a contentious VAR decision to overturn a Saints penalty.

Aymeric Laport, John Stones, Rodri and Oleksandr Zinchenko all missed the Southampton draw, and Guardiola suggested Ilkay Gundogan is also likely to sit out the tie against the Chairboys.

Guardiola has often used the early rounds of the competition to blood younger players, with the likes of Liam Delap, Tommy Doyle and Taylor Harwood-Bellis handed opportunities last season.

The latter two of that trio have now moved out on loan, though Guardiola said he will be turning to City's youth once again.

"I don't have any alternative… we are going to play a few young players," Guardiola told reporters.

"We have John, Aymeric, Oleks, Rodri and I think Gundogan – all of them injured. It's a good opportunity for the academy – that's why they are there."

It is not just injuries that Guardiola is being wary of, as he also looks to hand rests to players who have been ever-presents for City so far.

"Some players might rest for the games we have coming up ahead of us," said Guardiola, whose side take on title rivals Chelsea next weekend.

"Ruben [Dias] played all of the minutes so far and Joao [Cancelo] played all of the minutes, too, so I don't think they will be able to play in this game."

Tuesday's game will be the first meeting between City and Wycombe since April 1999, with Wanderers winning 2-1 at Maine Road on that occasion. On the same weekend, Guardiola was playing for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid in LaLiga.

City have not been eliminated from this competition by a side from outside the Premier League since September 2008 against Brighton and Hove Albion and even when utilising the academy, it is unlikely that record will change.

Indeed, a side from either League One or League Two have never won an away game against the EFL Cup holders, while the last team from outside of the top flight to do so were Grimsby Town in 2001.

Gareth Bale impressed in a scoring display during Tottenham's 4-1 FA Cup win at Wycombe Wanderers, with Jose Mourinho insisting he has no worries over the Wales star's fitness.

Bale returned to Spurs on loan from Real Madrid in September but an initial knee problem delayed his second debut and he has largely existed on the periphery of Mourinho's plans in the Premier League.

He was once again called into cup action at Adams Park and produced an all-action performance, equalising after Fred Onyedinma put the Championship's bottom club ahead against the run of play.

Mourinho still had to call for the cavalry from the bench as Wycombe withstood a second-half onslaught.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min both went close, but fellow substitute Tanguy Ndombele finished superbly for a late brace after Harry Winks' cool chip gave Spurs an 86th-minute lead.

Faltering Premier League champions Liverpool are next on the agenda for Tottenham and Mourinho suggested Bale had done his prospects of adding to a solitary top-flight start this term no harm at all.

"He looked good, taking on players, scored the goal," he told a post-match news conference.

"I never felt that he could not play 90 minutes, I never felt I had to take him off.

"The Championship is a good level. That is good. I am happy."

If Bale is concerned over whether he can make himself a fixture in Mourinho's first XI, he should look no further than Ndombele.

The former Lyon midfielder was not always trusted when the ex-Chelsea boss replaced Mauricio Pochettino last term, but he is now a player on top form and oozing confidence, as his late salvo emphatically showed.

"He is very creative. He's one of these players who can break the balance [of a game]," Mourinho told BT Sport.

"They tried to get him man-against-man. Number 18 [Curtis Thompson] was man-against-man with him.

"But he is always the kind of player who can break that. If, on the top of that, he can score a goal for us, even better."

Tottenham were forced to come from behind before securing a 4-1 FA Cup win over Wycombe Wanderers.

The Championship's bottom club stunned their Premier League opponents when Fred Onyedinma capitalised on fine work by Uche Ikpeazu.

Gareth Bale went close either side of the opener and was on hand to level in first-half stoppage time.

Spurs dominated after the break, although Jose Mourinho felt the need to introduce Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Tanguy Ndombele - the latter sealing a place in round five with a late brace after Harry Winks' classy 20-yard chip gave the visitors the lead for the first time in the 86th-minute.

 

Gareth Bale must earn every minute on the pitch at Tottenham with Jose Mourinho insisting he does not give them out easily. 

On loan from Real Madrid and facing an uncertain future, Bale is yet to hit the heights since delighting Spurs fans with his return to the club in September. 

Issues with the winger's form and fitness have meant he has only started one Premier League match, while he is yet to complete 90 minutes in any competition. 

Ahead of Monday's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Wycombe Wanderers, Mourinho was asked if it would be beneficial to give Bale regular outings of between 30 and 60 minutes to build up his fitness and confidence. 

Mourinho, however, suggested performances in training held the key to his decision. 

The former Madrid head coach hopes Bale will come through this week unscathed in order to boost his chances of a long run-out against Championship outfit Wycombe. 

"I cannot give players minutes," Mourinho said about Bale. "Minutes on the pitch are not something I can give. I wouldn't go in this direction.  

"We all know the difficulties he had for a couple of seasons. We all know that he arrived injured. We all know that even this season he has been a little bit up and down with small things.  

"The most important thing is to be consistent and training without any problems. 

"When a player is consistently training high intensity without any kind of problems then the player is ready not to be given minutes but is ready to earn minutes. That to me is a different thing." 

Mourinho added: "This week, he is working every minute like everybody else at a good intensity.  

"Let's see the way he reacts to that accumulation, to that load of work. Let's see how he reacts by the end of the week.  

"If he feels - because it is also about his own feelings - that the week that he had has had a positive impact on him and his confidence, he will play the match on Monday." 

Amid reports Tottenham would not be extending Bale's loan spell for a second season, Mourinho insisted last week that no decision had yet been made.

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