Monday 23 October 2017

Red-hot City have whole of Europe worried -- Nasri

Mark Ogden

Samir Nasri has claimed that "all of Europe" will fear a Champions League second-round tie against Manchester City before the draw for the round of 16 in Nyon today.

Manuel Pellegrini's team go into the draw having fought back from two goals down to secure a 3-2 victory against European champions Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena last Tuesday.

But having qualified as runners-up in Group D, City face a daunting two-legged clash against one of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund or Atletico Madrid in the spring.

Arsenal, whose 2-0 defeat in Naples last week left Arsene Wenger's team in second spot and facing a similarly difficult assignment in the last 16, cannot face Dortmund in the next round, but a trip to Munich is a possibility.

However, with City following up their win against Bayern with a stunning 6-3 win against Arsenal on Saturday, French midfielder Nasri insisted that even Real and Barcelona would want to avoid a clash with Pellegrini's team in February and March.


"No, I'm not worried by who we could face," Nasri said. "I don't think they (Real or Barca) will be happy to play Manchester City. But if I had to pick the draw, of course I would go for Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid or Borussia Dortmund.

"I don't want to play Real Madrid or Barcelona, but if we do get them, they will be worried about us."

Nasri claimed that City's victory against Arsenal will have sent a message to Europe's leading clubs about their ability to progress in this season's competition.

"Everyone (around Europe) will look at that game," Nasri said. "And when you see a team perform like we did -- on top of what we did against Bayern in midweek -- you are a little bit worried about playing us."

While City and Arsenal will emerge with a difficult draw today, Chelsea and Manchester United are likely to be handed far less hazardous ties having emerged as winners of their qualifying groups.

Chelsea, European champions in 2011-12, can face any one of Bayer Leverkusen, Zenit St Petersburg, AC Milan, Olympiakos and Galatasaray.

United, meanwhile, cannot face Leverkusen, having emerged as winners of the German club's group, but David Moyes' team could be handed a trip to Schalke -- runners-up in Chelsea's group.

Zenit, who qualified with a record low tally of six points and one victory from Group G, appear to be the weakest team in the draw.

And while the potential return of former City manager Roberto Mancini to Manchester with Galatasaray would an eye-catching draw, United defender Rafael da Silva admits Moyes' players are merely grateful to avoid a similar fate to last season, when they topped their group and ended up with a second-round clash against Real Madrid.

"I can remember last season when we also won the group and yet we played Real Madrid," Rafael said.

"I hope something like that doesn't happen again but we can take anyone.

"I've seen Manchester City won 3-2 against Bayern Munich, which was a surprise.

"But City finished second so we can't play Bayern yet.

"I think that is a good thing." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport