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Strong finish to the season vital, says Kolarov

STILL PLENTY TO PLAY FOR: Aleks Kolarov now wants to have the best possible finish in the Premier League and FA Cup.

STILL PLENTY TO PLAY FOR: Aleks Kolarov now wants to have the best possible finish in the Premier League and FA Cup.

Aleksandar Kolarov says Manchester City are determined to try and banish the pain of the Club’s Champions League exit by staging a strong finish to the season in both the Premier League and the FA Cup.

City went out of Europe after losing their last-16 second-leg tie away in Monaco 3-1, with the hosts qualifying for the quarter-finals on away goals after the overall tie finished level at 6-6.

Though the Serbian defender admitted the defeat was painful, with City already through to an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal next month and third in the Premier League there is still much to play for over the next two months.

And Kolarov pledged that Pep Guardiola’s side would do everything in their power to ensure a successful end to the campaign.

“We have two months until the end of the season so I hope we are going to finish in the best way possible in the Premier League and FA Cup,” said Kolarov.

“We have to work hard to improve every game and we will see where we can reach in the end.

“The aggregate score was 6-6, they scored more goals away and they played very good. I think we are a better team than them, but in the moment we didn’t play the first half like we wanted to. I’d like to congratulate them on going through.

“It’s very painful in this moment for us and a difficult day but we have to look forward to the next games.”

Reflecting on the loss, Kolarov’s defensive colleague John Stones said City had paid the price for an poor first 45 minutes which saw Monaco race into a 2-0 lead.

Leroy Sane’s 71st minute goal looked to have sent City through before Tiemoue Bakayoko headed home a free-kick on 76 minutes to seal the result.

“(It was) Not up to our standard in the first half. We wanted to correct that but we weren't clinical enough in both boxes. We didn't score enough and weren't defensively solid enough,” Stones admitted.

"The second half didn't reflect the whole scoreline. We were the City people know from this season. We should have scored more. It is a difficult one for us to take. We should have done better and deserve to be in the next round.

"The gaffer was saying before that the more and more he plays the Champions League it is about the set-pieces. Real Madrid scored from two last week and went through. We weren't solid enough."

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