Play it cool boys, urges Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Play it cool boys, urges Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini has stressed the importance of keeping cool heads as Manchester City tackle 10-time winners Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.

City host the Spanish giants in the first leg of the eagerly-anticipated last-four tie at the Etihad Stadium tonight having reached this round of the competition for the first time.

A fiery atmosphere is anticipated and City boss Pellegrini hopes his players have learned from their last-16 defeats to Barcelona in each of the past two seasons, when dismissals hampered their chances.

Pellegrini, a former Real coach, said: "Emotionally it is very important to have a hot heart but a cold mind. You can give an advantage to play with one player less, or commit an unnecessary penalty or things that decide the score.

"I think that is the lesson we must learn. It is important not to be emotional."

City will be without midfielder Yaya Toure for this first encounter and the Ivorian may also be doubtful for next week's return at the Bernabeu after suffering a thigh injury in Saturday's Barclays Premier League defeat of Stoke.

Captain Vincent Kompany is fit to start after being rested at the weekend and forward Kevin De Bruyne will also return after being given a game off.

Kompany has called on the City fans in a sell-out crowd to play their part.

Play it cool boys, urges Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

The Belgian said: "I have never seen a Man City team not turn up when the fans are up for it. It is actually an appeal to them that they have to be as loud as they have ever been.

"Otherwise what is the point of buying a ticket to come in?"

Kompany, who recently returned from a month-long lay-off with a calf injury, also believes the occasion can inspire his team-mates.

The 30-year-old said: "When you get to the semi-final, there is nothing bad for you any more, you just want to play.

"For every single player in the team, if you are not hungry, you will never be hungry in football."

City are likely to be up against Real's formidable attacking trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale after coach Zinedine Zidane delivered positive fitness updates on the former two players.

Ronaldo missed Saturday's Primera Division win over Rayo Vallecano with a thigh problem while Benzema suffered a knee problem during that match.

"The idea is they will play," said Zidane ahead of his side's final training session. "I think they will be 100 per cent."

The match will be Bale's first in England since his world record £85.3million move from Tottenham to the Spanish capital in 2013.

"It's great to be back in England," said the Welshman. "I don't miss the cold weather too much but we're really excited for tomorrow.

"I don't feel I have a point to prove. I've played long enough to be okay about that."

Bale is not surprised to see that City have finally reached this level.

He said: "If anything I'm surprised they haven't got here earlier. They're a club that have progressed a lot over the years.

"They've really become a force in the Premier League and are obviously starting to be in Europe.

"Hopefully now we can stop them."

More in this Section

What Manchester City’s European ban could mean for clubWhat Manchester City’s European ban could mean for club

Leaders Leinster storm to victory over CheetahsLeaders Leinster storm to victory over Cheetahs

Hoops claim dramatic victory in Dublin derby despite difficult conditionsHoops claim dramatic victory in Dublin derby despite difficult conditions

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer calls for United to win at Chelsea to boost top-four hopesOle Gunnar Solskjaer calls for United to win at Chelsea to boost top-four hopes


Lifestyle

For those who enjoy encounters with flora, birds, marine, amphibian and avian varieties they don’t see every day, La Gomera, an island in the Canaries group, is a rewarding experience.Gomera: beautiful walking trails and a bohemian life

Jonathan deBurca Butler meets designer Claire Garvey, whose chic outfits are regularly donned by a host of famous faces, including Nile RogersGlitter jitterbug: Meet the Irish designer behind Julian Benson’s spectacular jackets

So you like Margaret Atwood? Marjorie Brennan offers tips for ten other books with interesting female characters at their coreMargaret Atwood fan? Here are ten more books written by women to check out

AS Joaquin Phoenix rose to the podium to collect his Academy Award for Best Actor, ears were peeled as the actor made his speech about inequality and our disconnect with the natural world.Paul McLauchlan: Leading men lead the way on Oscars red carpet

More From The Irish Examiner