Joleon Lescott claims Manchester City were fired up last weekend by Everton's shock FA Cup loss to Wigan.
The Merseysiders were stunned 3-0 by the unfancied Latics in their quarter-final at Goodison Park and City were anxious to avoid an even greater upset against Barnsley later the same day. The Premier League champions responded by thrashing the Championship strugglers 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium and will now face rivals Manchester United or Chelsea for a place in the final.
Lescott, a former Everton player, said: "We knew it would be tough, but we had all watched the game earlier. Everyone predicted an Everton win, but Wigan surprised most people. We didn't want that to happen to us so we had to put in a professional performance."
He went on: "The manager set our stall out before we even travelled to the stadium, saying that if we were professional and played in the right way it would be hard for Barnsley to create many chances. From the get-go we proved that, and made it hard."
Striker Carlos Tevez took most of the plaudits for City after scoring a hat-trick in an outstanding performance.
But City's defence has been the bedrock of their FA Cup challenge with four clean sheets in victories over Watford, Stoke, Leeds and now Barnsley.
Not since Bury in 1903 have a team won the competition without conceding a goal.
"We are always delighted to keep clean sheets, and even better if it gets you to a semi-final as well," said England international Lescott, who after falling down the pecking order this season made his first start in a month on Saturday.
"But now we are at the business end of the competition and it's not about keeping clean sheets but winning games.
"We need to win the next two, and we have our name on the cup again."