Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has urged his team-mates to act fast to salvage their Uefa Champions League season.
City are bottom of Group E with two points from four matches. They would be eliminated if they fail to beat Bayern Munich at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday and there is a winner in the other group match between CSKA Moscow and AS Roma.
The Frenchman, 27, told several national newspapers the current crop of players with the Premier League champions may be replaced if they fail to advance into the knockout stages of the Champions League.
“Let’s be honest, we need to do something or otherwise next year it is going to be new players,” said Nasri. “That’s how we work when you play for a big team, a big club. You have to respond and show everyone you deserve to qualify.
“I think we are really lucky we are two points behind with two games left and have a chance to qualify. We need to take it now because we are not going to have any favours from anyone else any more.”
City reached the last-16 phase of Europe’s elite competition in Manuel Pellegrini’s first year in charge last season after failing to progress beyond the group stages in their previous two campaigns.
After recording their second success in the English top flight, they had begun the present campaign with huge expectations and to fail to reach the next round will be conceived as a slump.
“Let’s be honest,” he continued. “With the salary of every player and the level of those players, 90 per cent of the team is world class, then not to qualify from the first round of the Champions League would be a huge blow for the club- and for us as well.”
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich midfielder, Xabi Alonso, says City’s disappointing run in Europe shows that money is not all it takes to buy success in Europe.
“Football is not mathematics. There’s not like a determined formula where you’re buying success,” birthday boy, Alonso, 33, said.
“Because of that, you get big surprises in football, but you have to do things properly and, normally, if you do things properly, you will reach success.”
The former Liverpool and Real Madrid man believes City’s ambition in Europe would click someday.
“So far they haven’t done it but I’m pretty sure that a big year for City in Europe isn’t far away. Because season by season, they try to improve,” Alonso noted.
“It looks like a very serious project and competing with the other top clubs in Europe is one of their goals.
“Even though the situation looks difficult for them, it might change in 90 minutes.”