Manchester City will look to revive their Champions League ambition when they hosts high-flying Italian Serie A outfit Roma on Tuesday.
A late Jerome Boateng strike stunned the Premier League champions in their opening group game at Bayern Munich a fortnight ago. A night out with the ‘Giallorossi’, who are yet to lose a Serie A fixture so far this season, present several challenges to Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
Coupled with their fine start in the domestic league season, Roma got off to a flyer in their opening Group E tie with CSKA Moscow, dismissing the Russian champions 5-1 at the Stadio Olimpico.
Alessandro Florenzi and Mattia Destro both scored on Saturday to help coach Rudi Garcia’s side beat Chievo Verona at home, while City edged a six-goal thriller away at Hull City 2-1 back in England.
Cit have scored 11 goals in their last two matches, but will have to fancy out a way to unlock a resilient Roma defence which has only conceded once in five Serie A matches.
The Etihad Stadium hosts will have their manager Manuel Pellegrini back in the dugout after the Chilean completed his two-match touchline ban, having sat in the stands for the second leg last 16 game with Barcelona (last season) and the loss in Munich.
The ‘Citizens’ boss dismissed suggestions by his counterpar that there is extra pressure on his team following the defeat a the Allianz Arena.
Garcia said: “All the pressure is on them. They need to get a result at their home ground.”
“The pressure is normal and I think we were under more pressure after losing the opening game at home to Bayern last season,” Pellegrini said.
“We were unfortunate not to take a point in Munich, but even if we had, there would have been no difference going into the Roma clash.
“If we play the way we have in the last few games I will be very happy because we are playing well and scoring goals again and though Roma are a very good side, we can win this game.”
Pellegrini revealed striker Stevan Jovetic is back in the squad and ready to face Roma after missing the last five matches with a hamstring injury.
Brazilian Fernando will not be available for the Tuesday evening kickoff as he is yet to fully regain match fitness following a groin injury. Fellow midfielder Nasri is also out recovering from the groin surgery he underwent at a London hospital over the weekend.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart is set to return to the starting lineup having been rested for City’s past two games, with Willy Caballero standing in goal for the 7-0 League Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday and the 4-2 win at Hull City.
Roma will be without Daniele De Rossi, who has not featured in their last two games.