Skip to main content

Pellegrini: Playing for a draw at Sevilla would be a risk

Manuel Pellegrini suggested that he will not deviate from an attacking approach as his Manchester City side chase a third consecutive Champions League win at Sevilla.

City have come from behind to win each of their last two Group D matches 2-1 in injury time against Borussia Monchengladbach and the Liga side.

The patchy nature of both performances, during which the Premier League leaders displayed familiar frailties without the ball on the European stage, increased calls for City to take a more pragmatic Champions League approach.

Midfielder Fernandinho and defender Vincent Kompany both praised the defensive solidity on show during the recent 0-0 derby draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford but Pellegrini refuted the idea of playing for a draw at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, where victory combined with a win for Juventus in Monchengladbach would see his team through to the knockout stages with two games to spare.

"I think it's very important for the team to try to win because, depending on what happens in the other game, we could be in the next stage," he told a pre-match media conference

"It's a benefit to qualify as soon as you can – it's not easy to do it two games before the end. If we do it, in the same way you must qualify, you must fight to qualify in first place.

"This team is not prepared to try to draw – we won't start the game and think it's a good point.

"If you start thinking a draw is a good result, you'll normally lose."

City's last-16 defeats to Barcelona in each of the past two seasons are their best returns at this level and Pellegrini believes criticism of these performances have fired his team's late heroics this term.

Currently injured striker Sergio Aguero head his nerve from the penalty spot at the death against Gladbach, while club-record signing Kevin De Bruyne was the hero when Sevilla travelled to Manchester last time out.

"Maybe when you read so much criticism when you don't win, when you win, especially when behind, fighting to the end with so many players inured – of course that gives you trust on what you can do as a team," Pellegrini added. "It demonstrates character and spirit.

"As a team, we are in a very strong moment and I hope we can improve further when we recover important players from injury."