Sagna expects more fight and desire

Bacary Sagna insists Manchester City will make amends for their Champions League misery by securing a win against Liverpool.
Bacary Sagna insists Manchester City will make amends for their Champions League misery by securing a win against Liverpool.PHOTO: EPA

LONDON • Bacary Sagna insists Manchester City will make amends for their Champions League misery by securing a crucial win against Liverpool 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 the Spaniard, who had never before seen one of his teams knocked out before the Champions League quarter-finals.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager 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 in the battle for a top-four finish, Guardiola needs a lift and Sagna called on his team-mates to get back on track with a vital three points at Eastlands tomorrow.

PROBLEM AREA

It's okay if you look at the attacking play, the technical skill and the way Guardiola wants to play... But when they lose the ball, they are far too vulnerable.

HANS BACKE, City's former assistant manager, who fingers defence as a weakness of the team.

"We forgot to fight as a team," the Frenchman 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."

Former City assistant manager Hans Backe believes Guardiola must address his side's defensive woes if they are to have any chance of adding another Premier League title.

"It's okay if you look at the attacking play, the technical skill and the way Guardiola wants to play, with a goalkeeper playing out from the back," the 65-year-old Swede, who spent a year at City as assistant to Sven-Goran Eriksson, said. "But when they lose the ball, they are far too vulnerable. I'm convinced he's going to put his mark on the team with some buys, and I think it will be players in the back four."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline 'Sagna expects more fight and desire'. Print Edition | Subscribe