Man City eye revival in Kiev

Football Champions League : Pellegrini's men looking to end slump; Atletico to face PSV

Man City eye revival in Kiev

 Manchester City must put a potentially ruinous fortnight behind them as they seek to reboot their faltering season with a big performance in their Champions League last-16, first leg trip to Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday.

With their English Premier League title hopes badly dented by successive home losses to fellow contenders Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur, City received heavy criticism for fielding a second-string team in Sunday's embarrassing FA Cup capitulation at Chelsea.

Suddenly, the lavishly-funded team who had been campaigning for a 'quadruple' of titles finds their season in danger of careering off the rails with manager Manuel Pellegrini brought to task by a former England great over his moans about the club's fixture congestion.

Alan Shearer, the Premier League's all-time leading scorer, criticised City's approach, telling the BBC he could not understand Pellegrini's decision to start six teenagers in the team which was thrashed 5-1 at Chelsea.

"Champions Barcelona played on Saturday and they face Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday. It's the same amount of time (between games) as City, but they didn't rest any players," Shearer said.

"I don't get the talk of resting players. City are -- and want to be -- a very big club on the global stage.

Pellegrini responded to the criticism by saying he should not have to defend his selection. He explained that his side had been struggling with injuries and were forced to prioritise.
All this turmoil plays into the hands of outsiders Kiev, who have reached the knock out stages for the first time since they were beaten by Bayern Munich in the 1999 semifinals.
Kiev's key concern is the physical shape of winger Andriy Yarmolenko, who spent two months on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Atletico upbeat

PSV Eindhoven will miss striker Luuk de Jong when they play Atletico Madrid.
Philip Cocu's side won all their home games in the group stage but must take on Atletico without the suspended De Jong who has scored 17 goals this season to help lift PSV to the top of the Dutch championship.

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