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Walker on European lessons, Sterling and Silva

PRESS CONFERENCE: Kyle Walker addresses the media ahead of the game

PRESS CONFERENCE: Kyle Walker addresses the media ahead of the game

Kyle Walker asserts City have learned crucial lessons in the Blues' hunt for Champions League success.

Pep Guardiola's side could secure qualification to the knock-out stages with a victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night (should Hoffenheim also lose) for the sixth successive campaign without progressing past the semi-finals.

The past two seasons have heralded quarter-final and Round of 16 exits - last year's at the hands of eventual runners-up Liverpool - but Walker insists his side are now better-equipped.

“Last season, we had a great chance,” he admitted. “We came up against Liverpool, who were on fire, and we had two ten minutes of madness in the first game that let it go for us.

“I feel we've learnt from that. They were good lessons to learn. Hopefully, we can take it into this campaign and really come with the front foot forward.

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“[We learned about] the standard in Champions League knock-out games. Each and every game is just important. For me, going to Anfield, we could have gone there and got a draw but we had to come back to the Etihad and play them on our home turf [chasing a 3-0 deficit].

“That’s something I hope to take into this season.

“I don’t think anything changes within the set-up of the week and the focus of the players but we have to take into consideration that the teams are different to the ones we're facing week in, week out in the Premier League. The standard is definitely a level up.

“It’s something we have to think about and hopefully, we’ll put it right on Wednesday evening.

“Every game is important – we have to take it game by game. We’re fully focused on the [Champions League] game and come Sunday, after this game, we’ll focus on United.”

PRESS CONFERENCE: Pep Guardiola and Kyle Walker address the media ahead of the game

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Walker also discussed the importance of a vocal home atmosphere, adding he hopes the team and fans will combine to create another memorable European night at the Etihad Stadium.

“It’s down to us as players to create the atmosphere,” he said. “We have to help the fans as well.

“The Manchester City fans have their opinion on the Champions League. They are the twelfth man but we have an important job on the field to get the victory.

“I’m too concentrated on my game rather than worrying about the fans but you do want an atmosphere. It’s difficult sometimes to play in places with an atmosphere – with the home fans on their side.

“We lack it a little bit but we’ve come to terms with that. We have to let our football do the talking. We've got some fantastic players and the fans shouldn’t influence our performance over 90 minutes.

“We need to make history for this Club and that's what we want to do.”

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Highlights

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The right-back also reserved praise for in-form teammates Raheem Sterling and David Silva, hailing both players a ‘pleasure to work with.’

“[Raheem Sterling] has been a joy to work with,” he declared. “I’ve played numerous games with him now on the right-hand side.

“It’s a pleasure to play behind him. I said to him at the start: 'Play with a smile on your face.'

"I feel that - with the players we have in the dressing room and the manager we have - everyone can help him. He’s reaching the levels he can do but there is still work to be done.

“He needs to dedicate himself to the game to make sure he’s one of the very best players in the world.

“As a teammate, [David Silva] is fantastic. He’s not the most vocal person but he lets his football to do the talking – that’s what sets him apart from the rest of us.

“He’s an example to all of us – both on and off the pitch. He's a pleasure to play with and a nightmare to play against!”

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