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Patience the UEFA key for Nigel

Nigel De Jong 0809

Nigel De Jong 0809

Nigel de Jong, the Dutch midfielder who knows Martin Jol's Hamburg inside out, believes that patience will be City's secret weapon in the UEFA Cup quarter-final second leg against the Bundesliga high-fliers.

Experienced European campaigner De Jong is missing from Mark Hughes' UEFA roster after his transfer in January and must sit on the edge of his seat along with the 47,000 sell-out City of Manchester Stadium crowd.

City fans urging on the Blues to overturn Hamburg's 3-1 first-leg lead will be praying for a repeat of Stevie Ireland's electric early opener last week - but De Jong will not lose heart if attrition rules the night.

He said: "We can win, of course we can, but we have to be patient, especially as we have that away goal to our credit. Most of all, we all have to believe that it can happen for us in 90 minutes.

"We have a lot of young guys and must concentrate, have a strong mentality. We must make sure we don't concede a goal in the first half - we have the players like Stevie and Robi to score the goals that can take us through.

"We have won many games at home this season and our fans will be a big factor. They are expecting a lot from us and we have to do our best for those supporters who stand strong behind us in every game."

Holland international Nigel has turned intelligence officer for the tie, passing on any helpful advice he can glean from his two years at the Nordbank Arena before signing up for the Blue Revolution.

He said: "I've outlined the strengths and qualities of the Hamburg squad - I know them well and they are mates, especially the Dutch guys, but I'm helping my new team-mates in the City dressing-room all I can.

"It's frustrating not to be playing. I had my two best years at Hamburg, I hope my best years are still to come at Manchester City. All my focus is on City now. And this is a big chance for us to do well.

"I am not just here for a year, but for a long time I hope. It will take one or two years for us to build a side to challenge for the top places in the League, but right now we have a UEFA Cup at stake. We have to realise that."

Hamburg reached the last eight with some bold away performances, not least winning at Galatasaray in the last round, but former Tottenham boss Jol said: "Gala was not an everyday occurence. At home, City are very strong. It's a big task to try to win here, and when an English side scores early it changes the dynamic of the crowd." 

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