As Manchester City shape up to meet the Catalan giants on Tuesday, today (Friday) sees lots of news and speculation ahead of the Blue’s more than promising campaign so far.
Stuart Brennan from the Manchester Evening News reports that Samir Nasri believes his club have what it takes to knock-out Barcelona in the Champions League last 16 which kicks-off at the Etihad stadium in just under a week.
Nasri has been sidelined for six weeks after a poor challenge from Newcastle’s Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in City’s New Year win away. However, Samir could be in the running for a place in City’s squad to meet Chelsea in the FA Cup 5th Round tomorrow at the Etihad.
26 year old Nasri said:
“I’ve missed a month-and-a-half of competition – but it’s allowed me to recharge my batteries,” he said.”
“With City, we’re still in four competitions with the aim of beating them. In the Champions League, we are going to have an exciting game against Barca. For me, they are more beatable than in the past.”
“Personally, I think we can knock them out. If our injured players are back, with a full team, I think we can beat them.”
Samir Nasri has put his resurrection down to Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini: “He made me understand that I was once more an important player for the team. On the pitch, he gives me quite a lot of freedom. So I try to repay that faith.”
“I feel great. I am soon going to be 27. I tell myself I have wasted enough time and that I need to exploit my potential. When you’re young, you don’t worry about things. You think you know everything. With hindsight, maturity, and a certain form of intelligence, you ask questions of yourself.”
Samir may be on the road to recovery, but the Mirror claim that the Man City coach will be looking to rest up some of his players for the cup clash against Chelsea, whom they meet for the second time in under a fortnight.
The Mirror’s John Cross and David Maddock write that “with Argentine Sergio Aguero and Brazilian Fernandinho both out KO’d, it will leave the Blues very short for the clash against Chelsea, who beat them in the league last week by a solitary goal to nil.
“It was reported earlier this week that Mourinho is also looking to excuse some of his big names from the tea-time clash, even though the west Londoners don’t play in midweek.”
FC Barcelona are also looking forward to the clash and it looks like Brazilian Neymar will be finally back in the squad to face Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou on Saturday. Maybe Martino will use the league game to prepare Neymar for the Champions League clash on Tuesday.