Football: Man City wary of backlash

Add a comment
WORD OF WARNING: Manchester City's Fernandinho, right, is taking Celtic seriously, despite their poor record. PHOTO/PA
WORD OF WARNING: Manchester City's Fernandinho, right, is taking Celtic seriously, despite their poor record. PHOTO/PA

Celtic shown respect by hot favourites

Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho has warned his Manchester City side to beware a Celtic backlash ahead of their UEFA Champions League clash in Glasgow.

City head north on the back of 10 straight wins under Pep Guardiola and are rated strong favourites to heap more continental woe on Brendan Rodgers' men after their 7-0 mauling by Barcelona earlier this month.

But according to Fernandinho, City - who by contrast started their campaign with a 4-0 breeze against Borussia Moenchengladbach - must tread carefully to avoid embarrassment of their own.

"Of course they (Celtic) had a painful defeat for themselves and their fans, but maybe that's one of the reasons they will step on the pitch with a lot more concentration, motivated to win this game," he said ahead of tomorrow's match.

"So we will have to be very careful and stay very focused to not allow that to happen."
City and Barcelona are strong favourites to progress from Group C but Fernandinho believes the outcome of the four-team league is far from certain.

"The Champions League is always special, you always have to be careful, you always have to think that you cannot make mistakes. There's no relaxing, otherwise you'll pay for it," he said.

The Brazilian has flourished more than most under Guardiola's early guidance, transforming into a pivotal member of the City midfield during their perfect start to the new campaign.

And his presence will remain even more of a boost for Guardiola in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne, who limped out of Sunday's 3-1 win at Swansea with a hamstring injury.

He is reportedly set to spend up to four weeks on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Rodgers has a goalkeeping dilemma to resolve before Manchester City turn up.

The Scottish champions shipped seven goals at Barcelona and Rodgers needs the safest pair of hands he can find to keep out some of the most lethal finishers in English soccer.

City have scored more than anyone in the Premier League this season.

Unconvincing Dutch goalkeeper Dorus de Vries was substituted at halftime due to injury in Celtic's 6-1 Scottish Premier League win over Kilmarnock on Sunday, with Scotland international Craig Gordon the replacement.

"Dorus strained his chest when he landed. He could have played on but we had Craig there fit and capable and I didn't want to take any risk with it so we will see how Dorus is [over the next couple of days]," Rodgers said.

The Northern Irishman said he would have no qualms about fielding Gordon against City, who beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-0 thanks to a Sergio Aguero hat-trick.

Tomorrow's game is the first between the two sides in European competition, but Celtic have several ex-City players in their squad including defender Kolo Toure, Scott Sinclair and on-loan winger Patrick Roberts.

- Bay of Plenty Times

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 07 Dec 2016 22:40:03 Processing Time: 582ms