Despite the mistaken arithmetic that plagued them in last season’s Champions League campaign, there will be nobody on the Manchester City bench in Rome monitoring the all-important game between Bayern Munich and CSKA Moscow.
To go through to the knockout stages of the competition, City have to win or force a score draw with Roma, while bettering the result CSKA achieve in Bayern’s Allianz Arena on Wednesday.
In December last year, the City manager, Manuel Pellegrini substituted Sergio Aguero when leading Bayern 3-2, not realising that another goal would have seen them top their group. City eventually finished second, drew Barcelona in the round of 16 and were eliminated.
“My mind is clear. Maybe in Munich I was confused by the fact that 3-2 was not enough but 4-2 would have been enough,” said Pellegrini.
“Here, I don’t see the complication. We will try to win. This team will not change. We will always be an offensive team, we will always try to go for the game from the beginning and we will do the same against Roma.”
Pellegrini, who will include David Silva in his squad for the first time since October, added that he had no fears that Bayern, who are guaranteed to top the group, would field a weakened side in their final qualifying game against CSKA.
“Strong teams and big teams always try to win their games,” said Pellegrini. “It is important for the trust (others have in them) and it is important for the club. There is nothing more to think about that. We simply have to focus on our own game.”
City are almost certain to be without Vincent Kompany and will have to keep at bay a Roma side who have won all their Serie A fixtures in the Olympic Stadium by at least two goals. Even with their captain, City have not kept a clean sheet this season in the Champions League.
The four goals conceded in the two fixtures with CSKA Moscow now seem very precious.
Pellegrini knows his side must perform with more discipline and determination if they are to hold out against Bayern.
He said: “Our performances against Moscow were not normal ones for Manchester City. It was not how this team can play. The most important thing is to keep believing and not try to change everything.”
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