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Thursday 13 March 2014

Champions League: Kompany unbowed by City exit

Defender says gallant defeat will steel Man City for Barclays Premier League title charge

  • City captain Vincent Kompany executes a clean tackle on Barcelona's Lionel Messi

  • The dismissal of Pablo Zabaleta (left) hit CIty's chances of beating Barcelona

  • Tottenham Hotspur head coach Tim Sherwood expects an improvement against Benfica

Barcelona 2-1 Manchester City (Barcelona win 4-1 on aggregate)

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany believes his side’s UEFA Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona on Wednesday night will only strengthen their resolve for their Barclays Premier League title run-in, saying, "if anything, it should give us motivation".

"Every team gets its moment and our moment will come"
Vincent Kompany

City battled at Camp Nou but found themselves 3-0 down on aggregate in their last-16 tie when Lionel Messi scored the hosts' opening goal of the evening early in the second half, and Manuel Pellegrini's charges' chances of salvaging the tie were effectively ended when Pablo Zabaleta received a second yellow card on 77 minutes.

Despite their numerical disadvantage Kompany equalised with a minute of normal time remaining, only for Barcelona to have the final say with a Dani Alves strike in stoppage time.

"I speak for the team in saying we've got nothing left in the tank," the City captain told Sky Sports. "We gave everything. A few times we could have scored, and obviously that would have changed the game.

"Going for a second time down to 10 men, it's not easy conditions to come and play against a strong team. Over the course of two games, but whenever there was 11 players [against 11] there wasn't much between the two teams.

City must turn their focus to their domestic campaign, with 12 matches to go, starting with the trip to Hull CIty on Saturday. The 2011/12 title winners will return to the top of the division if they win their three matches in hand over Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea, and Kompany believes that far from denting their confidence, the defeat in Barcelona will help them to kick on in the final third of the campaign.

"If anything, it should give us motivation," he said. "The way we played against Wigan [in 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final defeat], the performance today was completely different. If anything it should give us confidence working on a few little things we can be that team. It is a matter of time – every team gets its moment and our moment will come."

City assistant manager Ruben Cousillas, deputising for the suspended Pellegrini, added that his side's attention will now be fully trained on the Barclays Premier League campaign.

"We work for a big club, a club which gives us the best tools to work," he told the club's website. "We know the responsibility we have and we know how important it is to win the Premier League. We showed that we are alive and we're going to fight for the Premier League and our project is long term."

The one setback for City was an injury to Sergio Aguero which forced his substitution at half-time. Cousillas did not say whether the injury would force the striker to miss the Hull match.

"It's too early to say how long Sergio will be sidelined - apparently it's nothing too important," added Cousillas. "He felt some pain in his muscle and he went off as a precaution more than anything. Tomorrow he will have some medical tests and the doctor will let us know how important the injury is.

Dawson out for Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping to return to winning ways in the UEFA Europa League this evening when they take on Benfica in the first leg of the round of 16 at White Hart Lane.

"It's about rolling your sleeves up in adversity and that's what I'm looking for"
Tim Sherwood

Spurs suffered a 4-0 away defeat by Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League last Saturday and head coach Tom Sherwood has demanded nothing less than 100 per cent from his players ahead of the visit of the Portuguese giants, whom they host for the first time since meeting in the European Cup semi-final in 1962.

"Anyone can get outplayed," said Sherwood, referring to the Stamford Bridge reverse. "What you cannot do is get outfought and out-desired and I do not want to see that happening again, that capitulation. I want the same desire and attitude from minute one to minute 95.  I won't tolerate anything less than that and the players know that now.

"Everyone gets a second chance. They've got an opportunity to respond, they know what's required. It's about rolling your sleeves up in adversity and that's what I'm looking for."

The hosts will be without captain Michael Dawson for the encounter after the defender suffered a hamstring injury last weekend that will rule him out of Sunday's north London derby against Arsenal.

Playmaker Christian Eriksen (back) and full-back Danny Rose (knee) could return while midfielder Mousa Dembele is in contention. However, Etienne Capoue (ankle), Erik Lamela and defender Vlad Chiriches (both back) are out.

UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg results

Tuesday 11 March
Atletico Madrid 4-1 AC Milan (Atletico win 5-1 on aggregate)
Bayern Munich 1-1 Arsenal (Bayern Munich win 3-1 on aggregate)

Wednesday 12 March
Barcelona 2-1 Manchester City (Barcelona win 4-1 on aggregate)
Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen (PSG win 6-1 on aggregate)

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Key Points

  • Man City exit UEFA Champions League after 2-1 defeat at Barcelona, losing 4-1 on aggregate
  • Vincent Kompany scores for City, while Sergio Aguero suffers first-half injury
  • Michael Dawson out for Spurs, who host Benfica in UEFA Europa League last-16 first-leg tie