SAGNA SUMMONS CITY RESPONSE
Defender urges team to show character against Liverpool after Champions League debacle
BACARY Sagna insists Manchester City will make amends for their Champions League misery by securing a crucial win against Liverpool in the Premier League tomorrow.
Pep Guardiola’s side were eliminated from Europe’s elite club competition in stunning fashion on Wednesday as they blew a 5-3 first leg advantage to go out on away goals following a 3-1 defeat at Monaco.
It was another major setback for City manager Guardiola, who had never before seen one of his teams knocked out before the Champions League quarter-finals.
Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola was heavily criticised for his tactics and team selection in Monaco, but City defender Sagna is adamant the blame lies with the players for failing to show enough fight.
With third placed City just one point ahead of fourth placed Liverpool
AP PIC in the battle for a top four finish, Guardiola needs a lift and Sagna called on his teammates to get back on track with a vital three points at Eastlands tomorrow.
“We forgot to fight as a team,” Sagna said. “We are out and we have to recover because on Sunday we have an important game. “I expect a reaction from the team. I expect more desire, to show more passion.
“We have to recover because it was quite a difficult game and then we have to think about Liverpool.”
Having won three of their last four games, Liverpool have opened up a five-point gap on fifth placed Arsenal as the race for Champions League qualification hots up. AFP
“Our job is to do as well as we can. We want to play Champions League next season. Six or seven fighting for the places,” Wenger said.
“How well we do will depend on that. Success is to get maximum from the potential of the team. Nothing is good enough anymore so you try to do as well as you can.”
Arsenal will give fitness tests to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs, but Wenger is boosted by the return of Mohamed Elneny after an ankle problem and he should be available for the trip to the Hawthorns.
Wenger says the trip to the midlands will not be an easy one against a side eighth in the Premier League.
“They have a big experience, they are well organised, physically very strong and very efficient on set-pieces,” he said.
“I think they’re the team who have scored more goals than anybody else on set-pieces.
“This season they’ve done very well in midfield. They have played very well and up front they have Hal Robson-Kanu and Salomon Rondon, who have done very well for them up front as well.
“It’s a very balanced team with a good size who are very equipped to deal with the Premier League.” AFP
Manchester City’s Bacary Sagna (left) vies for the ball with Monaco’s Thomas Lemar in their Champions League last 16, second leg match on Wednesday.