Manchester City will be missing captain Vincent Kompany once more in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal against Paris Saint-Germain, but coach Manuel Pellegrini has insisted that it is his team’s attacking ability that will be key to their hopes of progress. A 2-2 draw with the French champions in Paris last week gave the Premier League side the edge traveling back to the Etihad on Tuesday. A goalless or even 1-1 draw would now be enough to send Manchester City through to the semifinals for the first time in their history. Pellegrini, however, has stressed they won’t be reverting to a defensive mindset.
"I think that the most important aspect of this team is always to score,” he said in his pre-match press conference on Monday. “We’ve been working here for around three years and in those three years I always had the same answer its a team that is prepared to score goals a a team that is prepared to play. If we think tomorrow to try to draw 0-0 i think we are going to lose the game. It’s not the way we normally play.”
Manchester City’s defense will once more be unable to call upon Kompany, with the Belgium international failing to shake off a calf injury. There is better news regarding fellow center-back Nicolas Otamendi, however, with the Argentine having recovered from a twisted ankle. Further forward, Yaya Toure is also back in contention after making his return off the bench in Saturday’s 2-1 win over West Brom.
There is less clarity surrounding an important PSG midfielder. Marco Verratti, who missed the first leg, is close to regaining fitness, but after almost two months out with a groin injury it remains to be seen whether he will be risked from the start at the Etihad. Two players manager Laurent Blanc will certainly be without are defender David Luiz and Blaise Matuidi after both picked up yellow cards in the first leg to earn suspensions.
Last week’s contest at Parc des Princes was a significant disappointment for PSG. Les Rouge-et-Bleu were gifted an equalizer thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic pouncing on City's defensive miscue in the 41st minute, and then grabbed a second-half behind Adrien Rabiot's rebounded effort off a corner, only for Fernandinho’s strike to tie the scores up once more. It means Laurent Blanc’s side are up against it if they are to end a streak of three successive quarterfinal Champions League exits and make the semifinals for the first time since being the beneficiaries of huge financial investment from Qatar.
"Qualifying tomorrow will show that the team has taken the next step," Blanc said. "But what counts most is winning the final. I don’t know when that will happen. But until the club wins it, there will always be the pressure of expectation.
"All matches with something at stake are important. Today the expectation is enormous and that won’t stop until Paris wins the Champions League. That’s the club’s project, but it takes time, and to do it, you need to grow. Tomorrow we have the chance to show that we are still growing. The first leg went in favor of City but we can still comeback."
D: Sagna, Otamendi, Mangala, Clichy
M: Fernando, Fernandinho
De Bruyne, Toure, Silva
D: Aurier, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Maxwell
M: Rabiot, Motta, Di Maria
F: Lucas Moura, Ibrahimovic, Cavani
Kickoff time: 2:45 p.m. EDT
TV channel: Fox Sports 1, ESPN Deportes