Porto v Man City: James Milner expects team spirit to be key

James Milner says Manchester City's team spirit will be vital when they face Porto at Estádio do Dragão on Thursday night

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff    
roberto mancini
Roberto Mancini's side are two points clear at the top of the Premier League PA Photos

roberto mancini

James Milner believes Manchester City’s team spirit will be crucial if the Premier League leaders hope to get a result against Porto at Estádio do Dragão on Thursday night.

City finished third in their Champions League group behind Bayern Munich and Napoli, and Roberto Mancini’s side lost at the Allianz Arena and Stadio San Paolo on their travels.

Milner has called on the Eastlands outfit to improve their away performances and show togetherness against the Europa League holders in the first leg of their last-32 tie.

“It’s important to have a good team spirit in the squad, and throughout the season we have had that,” Milner told City’s website. “You are going to face tough teams in tough spots, you might go down to 10 men and be under pressure.

“That’s when you need everyone to pull together and show that team spirit.

“We’re going well in the league and we have to keep pushing forward, but when things are not going right then togetherness and team spirit can get you what you need.”

Porto are unbeaten in seven European home games – five wins and two draws – since a 1-0 defeat by Sevilla in last season’s last-32 second leg.

Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas led the Portuguese side to the Europa League title, beating Braga at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin last May – and current Porto boss Vítor Pereira considers his side as one of the favourites to retain the title.

“Everyone knows about City’s strength, they are the leaders in the Premier League,” said Pereira.

“They have a great team, but I am focused on the quality of our game. At our best level, we have more than enough to win the game. Porto are clearly one of the favourites to win the Europa League.”

Pre-match facts: Porto v Manchester City

• Porto have hosted City’s neighbours Manchester United four times, recording two wins, a draw and a defeat. At Old Trafford they drew 1-1 in 2003-04 and 2-2 in 2008-09, losing in 1977 and 1997. Their 10 other visits to England have all also ended in defeat.

• City’s only previous meeting with Portuguese opponents came in the quarter-finals of their triumphant 1969-70 Cup Winners’ Cup campaign, when they drew 0-0 at Académica de Coimbra before Tony Towers scored the only goal of the tie in the 119th-minute at Maine Road.

• Porto’s two most recent Uefa Cup and Europa League campaigns, in 2002-03 and last season, ended with them winning the tournament. And they have not lost a two-legged tie since a 2-0 aggregate defeat by Liverpool in the 2000/01 quarter-final.

• Mancini’s men have won only one of their last seven European away games, a 3-0 victory at Villarreal in this season’s Champions League group stage in a run of two draws and four defeats.

Get 50/1 enhanced odds on Arsenal to beat Tottenham. Hurry, offer ends soon. Click here and sign up for an account now. New customers only. T&Cs apply. Enhanced winnings paid in free bets.

MORE: Arsenal, Chelsea, Man United and Liverpool stars among players out of contract in 2018

MORE: Seven reasons why Chelsea must keep Cesc Fabregas

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Back to The Sport Review homepage

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

The Sport Review
20 Chelsea transfer targets Antonio Conte could sign in the summer
The Sport Review
Top 25 Muslim football players in Premier League: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man United and Chelsea stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal WAGs 2017: Meet Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s wives and girlfriends
The Sport Review
Roberto Firmino: 25 photos of the Liverpool forward’s stunning wife
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal, Chelsea, Man United and Liverpool stars among 16 players out of contract in 2018
The Sport Review
Predictions: Why Man United will finish ahead of Liverpool
The Sport Review
Sol Campbell: Why this player will score in Tottenham v Arsenal
The Sport Review
Barcelona 2017: Nadal and Zeballos beat #NextGen challengers to lock horns after four years