Milner says City spirit will be crucial
- 15 February 2012 23:06
- Posted by Tim Oscroft
James Milner says that City's team spirit will be vital when they face Porto in their own backyard on Thursday night.
The Portuguese side are riding high in their domestic league and boast an impressive home record, but the England international is convinced that City's togetherness can help them as it has done during the season so far.
Milner and manager Roberto Mancini faced the press just over 24 hours ahead of the round-of-32 clash shortly after arriving in Portugal
"It's important to have a good team spirit in the squad, and throughout the season we have had that," Milner declared. "You are going to face tough teams in tough spots, you might go down to 10 men and be under pressure.
"That's when you need everyone to pull together and show that team spirit.
We have a great bunch of lads here, everyone gets on, everyone sticks together and that's the most important thing especially when you are challenging for trophies.
"We're going well in the league and we have to keep pushing forward, but when things are not going right then togetherness and team spirit can get you what you need.
Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini thinks that City will see the best of Mario Balotelli now that he is available for selection once again.
The Italian striker has served a domestic four-game ban and is available for the game against Porto, where the referee will be Cuneyt Cakir - who sent Balotelli off against Dynamo Kyiv last March.
Mancini said, "I have spoken to Mario - I said: 'Please, we have 13 games to play [in the league] as well as the Europa League – try to have good behaviour on the pitch and think to only play football."
"I think if his head will be OK in the next two months, he will be an important player. It's difficult to find a good definition for him. We know that Mario is a fantastic player. He's young, sometimes he will do some mistakes but for this reason, if he can keep his composure for the next months, he will be an important player for us, in the Europa League and the Premier League."
The City manager's opposite number, Vitor Pereira, is confident that the current Europa League champions will have what it takes in the Stadio do Dragao on Thursday night.
"Everyone knows about City's strength, they are the leaders in the Premier League. They have a great team, but I am focused on the quality of our game.
"At our best level, we have more than enough to win the game. Porto are clearly one of the favourites to win the Europa League."