Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Monday November 5 2012
The Etihad Stadium
City enter the Champions League last chance saloon as Ajax come to town for The Blues latest do or die European challenge...
'The players owe me three big performances. We played a very poor game against Borussia Dortmund and we were so-so against Ajax. At one nil up we missed two incredible chances to close out the game. In the Champions League, if you score two goals, the game is finished. If you don't score, the game is open. We have lots of players with experience but, when you have the chances to score, you have to score...
'We have less chance of qualifying for the next round but, when you are a top team, even when you are out, you should play 100% in every game. We have three games left but we are only focusing on Ajax. There's no mental problem. The players are the same and the referees are the same. We just need to improve. I will change nothing.
'I don't think we are ready to win the Champions League. If we say we're ready to win it, we're not honest. In the Champions League it's clear that incredible situations can happen in February and March but we've been drawn in a tough group this year, like last year. We're a good team but we're not ready in the Champions League, like the other teams. Chelsea tried for 10 years to win the Champions League. They were probably the best team in Europe for 10 years and they won it after 10 years, probably when they didn't deserve to. They deserved to win it three or four years before. The Champions League is like this. If we win our next three games, then fantastic, anything can happen. But the road is very long.'
'It is not about winning three games to get through, it is us showing to ourselves we belong there and then we will see what happens. Man City will be in the Champions League many more times and will get its chance again but now we have to show that we deserve to be in the Champions League.'
Frank de Boer:
'We lacked aggression in the last match (Saturday's 0-2 defeat at home to Vitesse Arnhem) and didn't play the way we can but I am convinced that it will be different on Tuesday .'
The 19 year old stopper has proved in the opening weeks of the season that he is the real deal and with Joleon Lescott suffering back knack has another opportunity to show his class on the European stage. Not many teenagers make their debut`s at Real Madrid! With each game he plays he will develop a better understanding with The Blues back line and in a game where City must not concede, we need another big shift out of Nasty.
VMC earmarked the versatile 20 year old strings puller as the one to watch last month and he promptly tore City to shreds utilised as a roaming centre forward. Small wonder City went after his signature a couple of summers back. He has to be contained this week otherwise it's game over.
Ajax's overall record away to English clubs is W2 D4 L4.
Mario Balotelli's penalty equaliser against Dortmund meant City have still not lost a European home tie since a 1-0 defeat to FC Midtjylland in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round. The Blues remain unbeaten at home in the European Cup, albeit having played only five matches to date including the brief 1968/69 campaign.
City's John Guidetti scored an on loan hat-trick against Ajax in a 4-2 home victory for Feyenoord on 29 January this year.
All our yesterdays. Ajax coach Frank de Boer made his international debut in September 1990 in Holland's 1-0 defeat in Palermo against Italy for whom Roberto Mancini appeared as a 55th-minute substitute. Today's Ajax assistant coach Dennis Bergkamp came on as a Dutch sub.
Mancio's Internazionale knocked out Ajax in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League round of 16. Inter came from 2 down to draw 2-2 in Amsterdam before winning 1-0 at the San Siro.
4 long seasons ago in most Villa fans minds, Gareth Barry hit Aston Villa`s winner in a 2-1 home success against Ajax in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage. James Milner was also in the Villans side.
Ajax ended a 40-year wait for an away victory over an English team when beating the rags at the swamp in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32.
CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THE GAME LIVE IN THE VMC FORUM
Ajax vs Manchester City - 3:1 All Goals and highlights in 60 seconds
Peter Rasmussen of Denmark... The up and coming 33 year old has reffed in the SAS Liga since 2006. Became a UEFA Elite Development category ref in 2012. source: WorldReferee.com
Johnny On The Spot: I'm not alone across Planet Blue in wanting to see MCFC get angry and it was inspiring to see Mancio giving the hacks both barrels this week following their latest City obsession over where he was supposed to be doing one to in the summer. This correspondent has got the feeling that despite an enduring rash of destabilising injuries City are going to respond at last in Europe this week. Mancio has adopted the public stance he took in England last Spring in writing off his squad's title chances. The pressure evaporated and the team picked up the dapper City gaffer`s gauntlet with a tremendous team effort. Will this work in Europe? We'll know inside the first fifteen minutes at The Etihad where we can expect to see City to fly at the Dutch champions who are reeling from a wholly unexpected weekend defeat at home to Vitesse. An early goal is a pre-requisite and if that is secured, I predict City will win this crucial encounter with energy to spare. Resilience at the back is improving and a clean sheet in Europe would be a massive bonus. City 2 Ajax 0
all times East Manchester
Su 11 Nov 13h30 Spurs, The Etihad, PL
Sa 17 Nov 15h00 Aston Villa, The Etihad, PL
We 21 Nov 19h45 Real Madrid, The Etihad, CL
Su 25 Nov 16h00 Chelsea, Stamford Bridge, PL
We 28 Nov 20h00 Wigan, DW Stadium, PL
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Date:Monday November 5 2012
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