They were dispatched by the usual ruthlessness of Lionel Messi in the knockout round of the Champions League last-16, but this time round Joe Hart says that Manchester City must not go quietly having fought so hard to make it out the group stages.
The England goalkeeper was one of the outstanding performers in an excellent City side who beat Roma 2-0 on Wednesday night to secure a place in the draw for the second round of the competition in spring. Last season City drew Barcelona and lost 2-0 at home, 2-1 away, with a goal in both games for Messi.
City could draw Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Porto, Monaco, or Borussia Dortmund in the next round, the furthest they have ever been in the competition. Hart said: “We need to build on it now. We got ourselves all the way through last time and we struggled against Barcelona so we have to look to go positive and see what we can do.
“The draw is going to take care of itself. It is what it is and we are just happy we are in it. We are confident we can do well against anyone but it is Leicester now and we have to turn our eyes to that. That’s our next big game.
Manchester City player ratings vs Roma
“It [the knockout stages] is where we want to be. As much as an achievement it is, it is where we should be. I think we can’t get away from the fact we were poor to start with [at the beginning of the Champions League group stages] but we have come good at the right time and the boys are playing well.”
Even the loss of top goalscorer Sergio Aguero has not halted City’s good run of form. They have six wins in a row in all competitions and last lost away to CSKA Moscow on 5 November. “We went into the last international break having struggled a bit if I’m honest,” Hart said. “We struggled at West Ham [2-1 defeat] and QPR [2-2] was a good result for us.
“Since then we have not really looked back. We got that win against Swansea [22 November]. The [Jonjo] Shelvey free kick at the end of the game, I thought it was in, it wasn’t and we won the game. We have not looked back since.”
“I feel good at the moment. I feel like I am doing my bit for the team. When the team is working well, I am doing my bit and the boys are doing it at the other end … I thought Martin [Demichelis] and Elia [Mangala] were brilliant [against Roma] as well as Zaba [Pablo Zabaleta] and Gael [Clichy].”
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