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Silva drawing inspiration from Schalke's Madrid heroics

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Manchester City midfielder David Silva (L) vies with Burnley midfielder David Jones

Manchester City midfielder David Silva (L) vies with Burnley midfielder David Jones

AFP/Getty Images

Manchester City midfielder David Silva (L) vies with Burnley midfielder David Jones

"La SEMANA MAGICA" read La Vanguardia's headline yesterday, above a piece reflecting boundless local optimism here ahead of the arrival of both Manchester City and Real Madrid in the thrilling week to come.

City will land in Catalonia today to find that Luis Enrique's Barcelona players have cast away the gloom that accompanied them into England's rainy north-west three weeks ago.

A home defeat to Malaga preceded the Spaniards' arrival. They have won every game since.

City's board has had so many preoccupations - trying to get the New York franchise rolling and looking for the wheels that seem to have fallen off the season after last Saturday's 1-0 loss at Burnley - that the small matter of reversing the 2-1 home defeat in the Champions League round of 16 first leg seems almost to have been forgotten.

It is to the big names - Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure - that City will look in the Nou Camp tomorrow because one of the unsettling characteristics of this team is that, when these players do not deliver, City don't.

Optimism

It was appropriate, then, that Silva, their player of the season by a comfortable distance, expressed hope that Schalke's 4-3 win over Real in the Bernabeu last week - futile though it proved to be terms of Champions League progress - was a source of optimism.

"Everybody wrote Schalke off before they played Real Madrid but they won 4-3 and could have scored again, which would have put them through - nobody predicted that," Silva said.

"Not many thought PSG could beat Chelsea, especially with only 10 men for so long, so I know that everything can happen, not only in the Champions League but in every game.

"Everyone is expecting Barça to go through but, hopefully, we can give a strong performance and we don't have any kind of pressure on us because we are behind and playing away."

Meanwhile, City manager Manuel Pellegrini has again defended his position following increased speculation over his future.

City axed Roberto Mancini after a frustrating 2012-13 season, just a year after winning the title and, based on that, Pellegrini's prospects could be bleak. But the Chilean, who last week expressed desire to stay beyond the end of his current contract in 2016, has re-iterated his belief that is not the situation.

"Roberto left the club for other reasons - not because he didn't win anything one year. It's not 'if you don't win, you're out," claimed the Chilean in a wide-ranging interview.

(© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent