Roque Santa Cruz says City must not pass up the opportunities to finally despatch Stoke when the two sides meet again tonight.
The showdown for the right to face Chelsea in the quarter finals of the FA Cup sponsored by E.On will be the third meeting between the two in 10 days, and the fourth since Roberto Mancini took over at City, with his first game in charge being against the Potters on Boxing Day,.
But it’s not a case of familiarity breeding contempt for the Paraguayan striker. He’s set for a place on the bench at the very least as the manager considers his restricted options up front, and having played the full 90 in last week’s league encounter at the Brittania he accepts that City need to step it up.
“We know what’s at stake,” says Roque. “We did not play well at times thee last week, especially when they went down to 10 men, so we know we’ll have to improve.
“But we have played them enough times this season to know what to expect. We know what we’ll have to do when we don’t have the ball, but we have to look to play our way when we do have it.
Even with all the players that are unavailable to us, we have a lot of potential going forward and we’ll have to make the most of our chances when they come along.
...Roque Santa Cruz...
I had a chance myself towards the end last week that I did not take, and with it being a cup tie away from home it’s vital we make the most of our opportunities.”
It’s sure to be another hostile atmosphere tonight, but for the 28-year-old the best way to cope with that will be to get onto the front foot as soon as possible.
“Last week was the first time I had ever played there, and it was as intense as I’ve found since coming to England. It’s important to make the home crowd quiet in that kind of situation, and we can do that if we can play the way we want to from the start. We started too slowly last week, so we need to be positive right from kick off.
“They are hard to play against, but we’re tough to beat right now. Our defence looked really strong against Liverpool, and Shay did not have too much to do. If we can build on that by creating more chances then we have a really good opportunity to get into the next round.”
Keep in touch with how the Blues get on at the Britannia tonight by following the Match Day Centre on mcfc.co.uk