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Otamendi: Real Madrid can wait

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Nico looks ahead

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Nico looks ahead

One game and one competition at a time.

Nicolas Otamendi’s sole focus is on Stoke City as the Argentine defender targets UEFA Champions League qualification.

The 28-year old admits that Tuesday night’s draw at Newcastle was a case of two points dropped for the league’s fourth place side.

With West Ham and Manchester United breathing down City necks, Nicolas was keen to stress the importance of putting the upcoming UEFA Champions League semi-final to one side and turn maximum concentration onto the visit of the Potters.

“Knowing how important it was to win against Newcastle, we really wanted to,” Otamendi conceded.

“We’re fighting for everything near the top so we knew those three points were important. I don’t see it as gaining one point - we lost two points.

“We’re taking tomorrow’s game as one that deserves the maximum effort from us as we we’ve got to be thinking about next season and making sure we qualify for the Champions League and all that competition offers us.

“Tomorrow is our main focus and once that’s out the way we’ll concentrate on Real Madrid.”

The draw at St James’ Park brought an end to a three-match winning streak for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

It was a disappointing result, especially considering the fact that City took an early lead, but Otamendi is still encouraged by the recent upturn in form.

“We’ve got better recently, definitely,” he reflected, “At the beginning of the season we weren’t consistent. We’d play two games and lose one not playing as well as we could or should.

“Tomorrow it would be good to make sure everything comes together, we play well and we win.

City lost the reverse fixture 2-0 on a blustery day at the Britannia Stadium.

Nicolas admits that it was a real off-day for the team across all departments and is hoping for better at the Etihad in Saturday’s early kick-off.

“It’s a really demanding league and tomorrow’s game is one that really demands everything out of us. We must deliver and fulfil on our responsibilities.

“It was a difficult game at Stoke where things weren’t really going our way. There was a lot of wind and we weren’t having a great game at all in any part of the field.

“For me, tomorrow it’s important to play well in every position to get the three points.

 “We’re a tight group – we’ll do whatever it takes to reach our objectives.”

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