Nicolas Otamendi believes nullifying the threat of Radamel Falcao will be vital if Manchester City are to dent Monaco’s Champions League aspirations with a win at the Etihad Stadium.
The Argentine has pinpointed the first leg of the Last 16 tie as decisive to City’s chances of progressing against a team he admits he has been impressed by, while also preparing himself for a battle against his former Porto colleague.
“It’s always important to win and not concede when you play at home,” said the defender.
“Monaco play good football – they care about the ball and how they use it. They have many important players, who we have to be cautious about because they will hurt us.”
Top of the Red and Whites’ list of threats is their Colombian striker – whose return to the Principality has yielded something of a purple patch in what is a free scoring Monaco side.
Falcao will be central to the Ligue 1 outfit's plans and Otamendi says the Blues will need to give due importance to containing the former Manchester United and Chelsea loanee.
“He is a top player and very skilful inside the box,” he commented.
“We were team-mates at Porto and we've faced each other when I’ve played against Colombia for Argentina.
“As a defender, you always have to be cautious when you play against him. Returning to Monaco was good for him and he’s scored 22 goals in 27 games, so he’s found his form again.”
Seventy-six league goals has propelled the highest scoring team in Europe to the top of Ligue 1, winning plenty of plaudits on the way.
For Nico, however, City’s best chance of success will ultimately come from focusing on how they can hurt their opponents, rather than the other way round.
“Every club works to be ready for this competition and they’re a team that plays good football with players like Joao Moutinho, who makes them play.
“However, regardless of their abilities, we have to focus on our own game and try to play as well as possible.
“We’ll try our best and hopefully we’ll play the game we want and we’ll get the victory.”