Manuel Pellegrini insists Manchester City can make Champions League history as they prepare for their quarter-final second leg with Paris Saint-Germain.
City, who have reached the last eight of Europe’s top tournament for the first time, secured a slender advantage from the first leg in France as Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho away goals earned a 2-2 draw.
Pellegrini has been criticised at times during his spell in charge at Etihad Stadium for failing to deliver continental success, with City having been eliminated by Barcelona in the previous two seasons and yet to win a knockout game at home.
But the Chilean manager is adamant his side have shown they have the quality to compete with the very best, saying on Saturday: “Of course I think they can do it. We’re improving. In the first season we deserved to be at least in the semi-finals.
“We were a good team and beat good teams. That is why we won the Premier League and the Capital One Cup.
“Why can’t we believe? Why would the players not believe, because they are feeling every season they are doing better? We have received a lot of criticism that we don’t know how to play in Europe but we know how to play in Europe.”
PSG responded to last week’s draw with a comfortable 2-0 Ligue 1 win over Guingamp, Laurent Blanc opting to rest a number of first-team players ahead of the trip to Manchester, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Angel Di Maria, Edinson Cavani, Thiago Motta and Thiago Silva.
Blanc is still seething that his side could not build on the 2-1 lead they held in the second half against City but remains confident in their chances of going through, even though only two of the last 11 teams to draw a Champions League knockout tie 2-2 at home in the first leg have progressed.
“This morning, I’ve watched it once again and I assure you that we should have won that game,” he said. “But we didn’t. We should stop talking about this.
“We have to plan the next game, a second leg that will be as difficult as the first one, but I think we are able to do something.”
PSG hope to have goalkeeper Kevin Trapp available after he was substituted with a knee problem on Saturday, but Marco Verratti (groin) and Javier Pastore (calf) will not be fit. David Luiz and Blaise Matuidi both miss out due to suspension.
The home side could welcome back captain Vincent Kompany from a calf problem, while David Silva is expected to return after being rested for Saturday’s 2-1 win over West Brom. Raheem Sterling (groin) is still out but Sergio Aguero should be fit despite picking up a knock.
Samir Nasri, who scored the winner on his comeback from injury against Tony Pulis’ side, is ineligible.
Key Opta Stats:
– The two previous encounters between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain both ended in draws: 0-0 in the UEFA Cup group stages in December 2008 and 2-2 in this season’s quarter-final first leg.
– The last three Champions League knockout encounters between Ligue 1 and Premier League clubs have all seen the French team eliminate their English counterpart.
– Manchester City have kept fewer clean sheets than any other of the 2015-16 quarter-finalists in this season’s Champions League (one in nine games).
– PSG have won only one of their seven away games against English opposition, it was on their last trip to Chelsea in March (2-1).
– PSG have scored at least two goals in each of their last five Champions League games.
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored in each of his last five Champions League games. He has never scored in six matches in a row in the competition.