Manchester City EDS midfielder Will Patching believes City’s current UEFA Youth League side is one of the strongest they have ever had.
City travel to Austria today for their play-off tie with Salzburg after finishing second in Group C and although Simon Davies’ side finished behind Barcelona, Patching insists the performances against the Catalans have given them confidence.
“We played against Barcelona in the group stage and we felt we were unlucky, having played really well in both matches,” said the 18-year-old.
“They took their chances really well and we didn’t which is something we have to work on. Them matches did give us the confidence to play against the biggest clubs though and we feel we’ve got one of the strongest teams we’ve ever had.”
Salzburg have seen off Macedonian champions Vardar and Kazakh side Kairat Almaty to reach this stage.
“A few years ago we faced them in a tournament and haven’t met them since but we’ll be well prepared and ready to face them on Wednesday. We’re going over to Salzburg believing we can do well.”
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Having featured several times throughout the group stage, including an influential cameo in the Academy Stadium turnaround against Celtic, Patching believes the Youth League experience is essential to the club’s young players.
He said: “It’s a great experience. The Youth League is really good because it’s a mixture of the two sides so it brings the academy together. In the group stage we were flying with the first team and being around them was important.
“It’s a good competition to be in and the travelling is helping us to get used to the life of a footballer in the Champions League. We’re hoping we can win it and that would be incredible for the club as it’s something we’ve never done before.”
Manchester City travel to Salzburg in the UEFA Youth League on Wednesday 8 February. Head to the ticket office for more information on how you can support our future at home matches.