Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany insists tomorrow’s derby against Manchester United has to become the short-term priority even if they have unfinished business against Liverpool.
A 3-0 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final leaves Pep Guardiola’s side with a mountain to climb next Tuesday.
But before that they have the small matter of potentially becoming the quickest side to win the Premier League title — with six matches remaining — by beating their neighbours at the Etihad Stadium.
“We’ve got one chance to do it in the Champions League. In the Premier League we’ve got plenty of opportunities to do the job,” said the Belgium international.
“We’ll make it (the Premier League) a priority now for the next three days. It’s never been like this.
“You play the league and usually go on holiday but this one feels completely different.
“Whatever happens on Saturday we will take the game extremely seriously, we know how important it is for our fans but after that we will go back to this unfinished business we have got here.
“There’s not one single person at Manchester City who believes this game is over. Not one person.
“We have to live with the consequences of this result but that’s what makes football special.
“We had a very short period of time in this game where everything went wrong but the same can happen in the next game for the opposition.
“That’s what keeps us believing we can create chances.”
Liverpool’s three-goal advantage means if they score in the away leg next week City will have to come up with five goals if they are to progress to the last four.
For a side which has scored 124 times this season that is not beyond the realms of probability.
“We can dominate like we dominated the second half,” Kompany added. “We didn’t concede anything in the second half but the game plan didn’t change for them.
“They still tried to catch us out on counter-attacks and we just dealt with it. If 90 minutes of this can happen we will create chances and anything is possible.
“If we need to score five so be it. We’ve prided ourselves all season on being the team that we are. The second half we certainly went back to being the team that we are.
“It was just for a very short period of time we threw a lot away.”
After the Anfield effect propelled Liverpool’s players to greater things the City captain hopes their fans can do the same at the Etihad.
“I’ve seen it happen. Big games, big nights, they have always shown up and this will be one of them,” he said.
“Fair play to Liverpool — their fans, the club, the way they lived up to this event but it’s our time to do it now but I’ve seen it before so I’ve no doubt they can.”
For his part, Jesse Lingard is confident United can spoil City’s Premier League party this weekend.
In-form Lingard believes United can frustrate their rivals if they ignore the background noise.
“We have played there before and performed and did well, so I don’t see why we can’t do it again,” the United attacking midfielder said.
Asked if it was more important because City can win the league, Lingard said: “You have to see it as just a game because if you let other things come into play it might affect your performance, so you have to go into it like any other game.
“You have the lads beside you giving 100% and as long as we perform on the day we can get the three points.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool have been charged by Uefa after City’s team bus was pelted with bottles and cans ahead of Tuesday’s defeat at Anfield.
Disciplinary proceedings regarding the setting-off of fireworks, throwing of objects, acts of damage and crowd disturbances will be dealt with by Uefa’s control, ethics and disciplinary board on May 31.
City coach Manel Estiarte posted footage from inside the team bus which shows numerous objects hitting the coach to highlight the “unacceptable” behaviour of fans.
“No words. Unacceptable,” Estiarte wrote.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola offered a sarcastic response to security staff after their coach sustained significant damage.
At least one window was smashed on the journey through streets filled with thousands of fans, a number throwing flares and smoke bombs, and a replacement vehicle had to be found the trip home after the 3-0 first-leg loss.
In footage obtained by Spanish television station Gol, Guardiola appeared to be unhappy with the arrangements for their arrival. Getting off the bus in the area under the Main Stand the City boss gave the thumbs up to stewards and said sarcastically in Spanish “thanks for protecting us” and then “Shame”.
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