The Championship play-off contenders took a surprise lead in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg after Bobby Reid converted past Claudio Bravo from the penalty spot on the brink of half time.
Kevin De Bruyne soon stuck back for Guardiola’s side after the break but on a wasteful night in front of goal, City struggled to finish off their second-tier opponents until substitute Sergio Aguero nodded past goalkeeper Frank Fielding in stoppage time.
Johnson was proud of the performance from his players despite conceding the late goal and took hope for the second leg in a fortnight’s time, especially when Guardiola complimented him on his team’s display after the full-time whistle.
“Pep Guardiola said to me that we played better than most of the Premier League teams that come to Man City,” Johnson revealed. “We will take an awful lot from it and learn a lot. It is not over. It will be an interesting game at Ashton Gate.”
Reid’s away goal means that if Bristol City hold a 1-0 lead at the end of extra time in the second leg at Ashton Gate, they will progress to February’s final at Wembley, where one of Arsenal or Chelsea will await.
“The away goal was very important,” Johnson said. “We tried to score and certainly didn’t park the bus. The lads have to go home and think we can kick on form this performance.”
Much was made of Johnson buying Jose Mourinho’s favourite bottle of wine ahead of Bristol City’s elimination of Manchester United in the previous round but the Championship club’s manager refused to say whether he planned to put on the same hospitality when Guardiola visits Ashton Gate.
“We’ll have to wait and see. The big thing is to get a moment of his time,” he said. ”It’s their hospitality today too so I hope they’ve got one for me.”
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