LATICS players will need to be at their very best at Manchester City tomorrow – in fact they’ll need to be ‘perfect’.
Some Latics fans may be fearing for their team at the Etihad Stadium following the blistering start to the season from Roberto Mancini’s men, but their own seven-game unbeaten run means the visitors will be far from a pushover when facing the Manchester multi-millionaires.
Boss Roberto Martinez [pictured right] will certainly be adopting a ‘no fear’ approach, and he can take heart from last March’s clash between the two teams when City only just hung on for a 1-0 win following a stirring effort from the visitors in the second period.
However, there can be no slip-ups against one of the Premier League title favourites.
Martinez said: “We need to be perfect, and I think we showed that against them last season when I was very proud of our performance.
“In the second half I thought we were the better side, and that was just down to us being ourselves and being perfect.
“The moment that we make a mistake we’ll get punished, and that’s going to be the case for any team going to Manchester City this season.
“And I’m not just talking about the bottom 10 teams.
“Teams up at the top that will be expected to win the league will find it very difficult there.
“We’re excited to go there though, nobody is expecting us to get anything, but we’re going to go to City with a clear idea of what we want to do.
“If we can replicate that second half performance I referred to I feel we can be a tough proposition for them.”
Players of the calibre of Sergio Aguero, in-form Edin Dzeko, David Silva and new capture Samir Nasri will doubtless cause a few headaches for the Latics rearguard tomorrow, but calmness and composure will surely be a quality Martinez’s players will need in abundance.
The boss added: “You can’t always play eye to eye against teams like City for a full 90 minutes, you’re not going to win playing like that.
“But I feel we need to impose ourselves in periods of the game and we can be in the ascendancy.
“Then it’s about defending well, and overall trying to control the tempo of the game.”
All of Latics’ international players have returned unscathed from their exertions over the past week.
Only Antolin Alcaraz (thigh injury) and Steve Gohouri (calf) will definitely be unavailable for Martinez tomorrow.