Manchester City face an uphill battle to keep their hopes of a European title alive when they host Dynamo Kiev at Eastlands on Thursday.
City’s trip to Ukraine for the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie did not go according to plan, the visitors going down 2-0 and returning to England on the brink of European elimination.
City were still in good stead after former Chelsea man Andriy Shevchenko found the opener for the Ukrainian giants, but a poorly conceded second to Oleg Gusev and their subsequent failure to get an away goal could come back to haunt Roberto Mancini’s men.
Mancini and his expensively assembled squad need silverware to justify the considerable financial outlay that brought them together.
But there still other avenues for the Sky Blues, who are just seven points behind Manchester United in the Premier League title race and face their cross-town rivals at Wembley in an FA Cup semi-final in April.
Dynamo, meanwhile, have not lost a match in any competition in over four months, and will fancy their chances of protecting their aggregate against a City side whose goal-scoring has dried up.
Argentine ace Carlos Tevez has barely been sighted since his hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion early last month, while temperamental Italian starlet Mario Balotelli seems to have gone cold again and reacted poorly to be substituted off during the trip to Ukraine.
Shaun Wright-Phillips, who was recalled to the first team for City’s defeat of Reading in the FA Cup, believes his team can still make it through to the last eight.
“If we create one or two chances and we take them, then it’s a whole new ball game,’ Wright-Phillips told the club’s official website.
“We know we have to go out there and start firing straight from kick off and create as many chances as possible. You never know what may happen.”
“It all depends on what tactics the gaffer gives us but we know once we get one chance we have to take it to open the game up a bit more.”
Dynamo striker Artem Milevskiy, who has scored five times in the club’s Europa League campaign, has been ruled out with a fractured hand suffered against FC Vorskla Poltava at the weekend.
City have no fresh injury concerns.