Nathan Ake admitted to a sense of relief that Manchester City finally broke their Tottenham Hotspur Stadium curse to stay on track to defend their FA Cup crown.
The holders squandered a number of chances in Friday’s fourth-round tie at Spurs before Ake poked home from close range with two minutes left.
It represented City’s first goal at Tottenham’s new home at the sixth time of asking and the centre-back conceded it felt like being another night to forget until his timely intervention.
“So happy. It was tough but we played really well over the whole game. We just had to score and it didn’t happen again for a long time. I was thinking is it going to happen but luckily we got it,” Ake said.
“I thought it is never going to come but finally we’ve done it.”
The introduction of Kevin De Bruyne proved crucial and it was his corner which created Ake’s 88th-minute winner.
De Bruyne had been left red-faced six minutes earlier when he curled wide with only Guglielmo Vicario to beat, but made amends with an exceptional set-piece delivery.
Ake told ITV: “I think it was important to go through, we want to fight for every competition and this was a big step forward.”
Following a lacklustre first half, all eyes were on when De Bruyne and fit-again Spurs playmaker James Maddison would get the nod to come on.
Maddison made his first appearance since he sustained ankle ligament damage on November 6, but only touched the ball six times as Tottenham struggled to gain a foothold in the contest.
“Knowing the nature of the game, he’s trained well this week-and-a-half but he’s missed a lot of football,” Postecoglou explained.
“We were hoping to get him some minutes, which he did and he should be right to go from now on, but there’s another two games next week and we need him and others to pitch in.
“So, yeah it wasn’t really much of a dilemma about whether to start him or not. I just felt that coming off the bench was going to be better for us as a team more than anything else.”