Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has urged his team to concentrate on Thursday’s Europa League tie after it was announced they would be playing fierce rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals.
City edged past Championship side Reading and have been rewarded with a scintillating clash with United at Wembley. However Mancini is concerned this distraction will hamper their chances of overcoming a 2-0 first-leg deficit in the Europa League last-16 against Dynamo Kiev on Thursday night.
Mancini said in The Sun: “People are talking about the FA Cup but before then we have some important games, in the Premier League and this one in the Europa League.”
Meanwhile England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips remains confident they can make home advantage count.
“Two-nil down is not good but English teams are famous for recovering these results.”
City set for Dutch wonderkid.
Manchester City appear to have won the race to sign 16-year-old Dutch starlet Karim Rekik from Feyenoord, according to the Telegraph.
Rekik is rated as one of the brightest prospects in Dutch football and is believed to be close to signing a four-year deal with the Eastlands outfit.
However general manager Eric Gudde believes this move will be detrimental to everyone involved with the ultimate victim being the player himself.
“This is unfortunate for Feyenoord and the supporters,” he said. “But in most cases, these moves do not work out, especially for the boy himself. If you look at the statistics, the majority end in huge disappointment for the player.
“Even players who leave Holland when they have built a career here and played for the national side find it difficult abroad. Signing a 16 year-old is simply stupid, for all involved.”
Defoe deal on?
Out of favour Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has emerged as a potential replacement for want away captain Carlos Tevez, reports the Daily Mail.
Defoe has admitted he considered leaving Spurs in January after being left out of key games and has struggled to feature in the lone striker role in Harry Redknapp’s new formation.
Defoe spoke to Sportsmail last week before Tottenham’s Champions League clash with Milan where he said: “You start to think: “What am I doing here?” I’m used to playing in big games. I’ve played in big games for my clubs and for my country. It’ll be a tough game. I hope I’m playing and if I can score and we win the game then it’ll be great.”
Club talisman Carlos Tevez has been constantly linked with a move away from Eastlands and with Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli struggling to find their feet in the Premier League, his departure will almost certainly force Mancini back into the transfer market.