Joleon Lescott thinks that belief will be the key for City when they sample the intimidating atmosphere of Aris FC’s Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium on Tuesday night.
City’s Greek hosts have an enviable record, having not lost on the own turf in European football in 42 years.
Joleon took a look around along with manager Roberto Mancini after arriving in Thessaloniki on Monday night, and already knows what will be needed to quieten the crowd in Aris’ compact ground.
“We’ve got to be positive, believe in our own ability and not give them any encouragement early on,” he declared, “If we do that we can get some momentum and take it from there, but we’ll need to keep it quite tight.
“We have to limit their chances, make few mistakes early on because that always encourages the crowd to be more vocal and get on your back. As a player, you tend to get more nervous that way. If we can limit them, it should make the game easier as it goes on.
“I tend to relish these occasions though, it’s why you become a footballer, to play in European competition and big games, and Tuesday is a massive game for us.”
The Europa League tie comes hot on the heels of Saturday’s derby defeat, but Joleon sees it as a great opportunity to shake off the disappointment of the weekend.
“It’s a good thing that we are playing so soon. You don’t tend to dwell on defeats too long and it does help when you have a game so close. For me it’s just the same as when you win, you just want to play and keep your confidence. This game is a great opportunity for us to put Saturday behind us.
“But we will show Aris respect. We’re not sure of what they are capable of, so we have to expect anything. You have to be more aware of your surroundings when you play teams you don’t know as much about. It’s sure to be an intense atmosphere so we have to stick together.”