Captain Vincent Kompany challenged Manchester City’s players to produce the performance of their lives against Real Madrid – and he expects similar from the Etihad Stadium crowd.
City host the Liga giants in the opening leg of their first Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, having overcome Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight.
Kevin De Bruyne was City’s matchwinner in the decisive 1-0 second-leg triumph over PSG earlier this month and, when asked about his Belgium team-mate’s game-changing capabilities, Kompany told a pre-match news conference it was time for all of Manuel Pellegrini’s squad to hit peak form.
“I hope he plays the best game of his career so far tomorrow but we’ll need it from the whole team,” the centre-back said.
“I think we only have one thing that is a pressure for us. We cannot fail to reach our best level.
“To play against those top players, that’s what you want. There’s not a day in my life when I’m thinking these occasions are stressful or difficult. I want this for myself and I think, at this level, all players want this.
“For every single player in the team, if you’re not hungry tomorrow then you’ll never be hungry in football.”
The League Cup winners will be backed by a capacity crowd in Manchester and Kompany believes City’s supporters can play a vital role at the business end of a competition they have not always warmed to.
“We’re playing against one of the biggest teams of all time and I think our support tomorrow will be able to make a difference,” Kompany continued.
“If they turn up… I’ve never see a Manchester City team not turn up when the fans were up for it.
“It’s actually an appeal to them that they have to be as loud as they’ve ever been. Otherwise, what’s the point buying your ticket to come in? That’s what we need from them.”
Kompany is poised to line up at the heart of defence after recovering from the latest calf setback of an injury ravaged season, but 30-year-old has no doubts over his readiness to face a star-studded Madrid attack.
“People talk about my injuries but I talk about my comebacks,” he added. “People mention 14 injuries to my calf and I mention 14 times I’ve come back and played football like I’ve never been away.
“It takes a lot of strength of character to do that every single time and play at a level, that for a lot of players, is very rare to achieve.
“We’ll keep focusing on the positive, which is me coming back and doing the right things in my life to make sure that I diminish the injuries.
“I will only blame myself if it’s for a lack of effort, which has never been the case.”
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