Holders Manchester City cruised into the last 16 with another clinical win – this time with Preston the victims.
After their 8-0 thumping of Watford at the weekend, Pep Guardiola’s side turned on the style again to stay on course for a third straight EFL Cup triumph.
Even though Guardiola made nine changes to the side that steamrollered Watford, his formidable line-up had too much for their Championship opponents.
Guardiola gave a debut to 17-year-old Taylor Harwood-Bellis, who partnered Eric Garcia, 18 in central defence, with both assured throughout.
“I’m very pleased, as I know how tough the Championship is and Preston are third, didn’t lose one game here this season,” said Guardiola.
“We took it seriously. You can’t do what we’ve done if you don’t take it seriously.
“These kind of games please me the most, as we have extraordinary players I can count on.
“I assure you we will try to win in the next round. We’ll see the draw and it doesn’t matter which player plays, they will be focused.”
For Preston, this was a brutal eye-opener in terms of the gulf in class between them and the very best in the top-flight.
Raheem Sterling started the rout in the 18 minute, embarking on a surging run into the Preston area before plundering his sixth goal of the season.
Sterling turned provider for Gabriel Jesus in the 35 minute, picking out the Brazil striker, who steered the ball low into the net for his third of the season.
A cross from David Silva was deflected into his own net by Ryan Ledson, to make it 3-0 just before the break, with no way back for the hosts.
Preston managed to keep City down to three goals, with Josh Harrop striking a post after the break, the closest the home side came to scoring, while Phil Foden hit the underside of the bar in the second-half.