Football: Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott believes that the Citizens must win their remaining Champions League Group D games to stay in the competition — starting with tomorrow’s clash at Ajax.
City failed to escape the group stages last term and after a 3-2 defeat at Real Madrid and a home stalemate with Borussia Dortmund a fortnight ago, the defender is convinced that a similar fate awaits City this season if they fail to win in the Amsterdam Arena.
“People are going to say the next two games are must wins for us,” he said.“But I think every game from now until the end of the group stage is a must win.
“Everyone knows we are a good footballing side. But when we need to dig in and be together we can do that. We showed that on Saturday.”
Lescott added: “If we can take something from our neighbours and use it to benefit us then great.
“We showed a different side to us; we never know when we are beaten and have strength in depth in the squad.”
Although Ajax have yet to claim a point in Group D, the four-time European Champions and current Dutch champions led by Frank de Boer have more than enough quality to pose problems for any side.
Key men such as defender Toby Alderweireld, striker Derk Boerrigter and playmaker Christian Eriksen could all make a difference, while City will have to make do without their own playmaker David Silva (hamstring), midfielders Jack Rodwell (hamstring) and Javi Garcia (thigh), and defender Maicon (foot).
And while Ajax boss Frank de Boer is aware of the huge challenge posed by his oil-rich opponents, he is looking forward to the contest.
“Can we beat City? Of course,” he said. “But we have to stick to our philosophy, and play our own game.
“Against Madrid we did not play well, which is why we lost. City’s experience could be decisive but, if they have a bad day, we can win.”
Elswhere in Group D, German champions Borussia Dortmund host Spanish title holders Real Madrid.