Lee Johnson has urged his Bristol City players to make themselves heroes by beating Manchester City in the decisive leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.
The Championship side remain confident of upsetting the odds at Ashton Gate on Tuesday night after losing only 2-1 to the runaway Premier League leaders in the first leg a fortnight ago.
The Robins acquitted themselves superbly against Pep Guardiola’s quadruple-chasing side and were only beaten by a late Sergio Aguero goal after leading earlier in the game.
Manager Johnson, whose team beat Manchester United in the previous round, said: “For me, and the club, the Premier League is the dream. But, saying that, for this team to beat Man City and the players they have got, it would rank as one of the best results in the club’s history.
“They’ll go down in folklore. We’ll keep going, we don’t want to be brave losers. We want to compete and compete to win.
“The only way we will fulfil our ambitions is to get the results on the pitch. This is where the heroes are born.”
Johnson’s side, who are fifth in the Championship, have not won in six games in all competitions but troubled Guardiola’s men at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City’s vulnerabilities were subsequently further exposed as they were beaten for the first time in domestic football at Liverpool in their following game.
Victory over Newcastle, which maintained their 12-point lead at the top of the table, saw them get back into their stride at the weekend but they remain wary of the Robins’ threat.
Youngster Oleksandr Zinchenko, who could continue at left-back, said: “We already know about them as the first game was not so easy.
“They defended well and at Bristol it will be a more difficult game. United losing there was a surprise for us but, to be honest, everyone who watched the game could see Bristol City played well.
“They have shown us they can beat us.”