Alan Shearer says he is still trying to catch his breath after Wednesday’s Champions League clash at the Etihad – but says City fans have to once again create an electric atmosphere against Tottenham this afternoon.
The Match of the Day pundit, one of the most respected in the game, was part of the BBC 5 Live commentary team in midweek and he is fascinated – like the rest of the football world – how this fixture will pan out.
One thing he is certain of – it has to be same again, as near as possible – from the Etihad home faithful.
He says on BBC Sport: ‘I have a gut feeling City will beat Spurs on Saturday, but everything about the game is going to feel very different.
‘There was a sensational atmosphere at the Etihad on Wednesday night. Guardiola asked for the fans to show him they cared about the Champions League, and they certainly did that.
‘It will just not be possible for their supporters to create the same sort of intensity inside the stadium on a Saturday lunchtime, but the City fans still have a big part to play.
‘They did their bit to help City go after Spurs in midweek, and they can lift the players again. They have to try because, if things feel flat at all, that will only help the visitors.’
Message received and understood! And he’s right, of course…
Earlier in the piece he says: ‘City gave everything, but they have no time to feel sorry for themselves because there is still so much to play for.
‘They have still got six games left this season, and if they win them all, finishing against Watford at Wembley, they will win the Premier League and FA Cup and complete a domestic treble.
‘That would be an unbelievable achievement and I am sure Guardiola's message to his players will be along those lines. One trophy has gone but there are still two more to go - let's go for the hat-trick.’
Next up, former Chelsea and United boss Jose Mourinho says he can’t wait for another helping of City v Spurs and believes the next two games for the Blues will shape the title rice.
Speaking on Russia Today (but via The Metro), Mourinho says: ‘If everybody was wishing for more after the City-Tottenham game, you have more! Now in different circumstances because City needs to win to stay top of the league,’ Mourinho told Russia Today.
‘Let’s see how City react to this situation of being out of the Champions League. And honestly, I think it’s the best way for them is to have this big match. When you are sad, disappointed, frustrated in football, the best thing is a big match.
‘I think City plays for the Premier League in the next two matches, playing with Tottenham at home and going to Old Trafford to play Manchester United next. This is the big game for them.
‘By the other way, Tottenham still need some points to finish top four. I don’t think they can gamble, I don’t think they can think that “we are going to win the Champions League and we are going to qualify for the Champions League as Champions League winners.’
Meanwhile, The Irish Times’ Keith Duggan somehow manages to get Chas ‘n’ Dave plus Steve Mackenzie in his overview of the City/Spurs epic and today’s encounter.
He writes: “It may be that Guardiola has never even seen Steve McKenzie’s perfectly struck volley for Manchester City in the FA cup final of 1981, when the blues lost another classic to Ricky Villas’ era-defining goal which closed the scoring at 3-2.
“That was a period of more modest dreams for both clubs, defined by the catchy Chas n Dave anthem ‘Ossie’s Dream’, which the Spurs finalists merrily sang on Top of the Pops.
“City were the ‘other’ club in Manchester then; destined to bounce into the second division four more times through the 1980s and 1990s; the club’s fans perpetually nostalgic for 1967-68 when they magically and improbably won the league.
“Generations of City fans are still caught between the memory of that wistful history and their transformation into the new moneyed elite of the English game.
“Wednesday was a vivid reminder for City fans of the decades when football meant heartbreak in one form or another; normal service should be resumed at lunchtime today. But they’ll be edgy now.”
Finally, The Sportsman are talking our language as they say the quadruple dream might have ended – but a domestic clean sweep could still very much be on the cards.
Jack Kitson writes: “The Champions League journey may be over for another season, but Man City can still complete the domestic clean sweep of the League Cup, FA Cup, and Premier League. A feat no club has ever accomplished. If they needed motivation after the week's crushing disappointment, then they’ve got it.
“The 2018/19 League Cup has already been added to the trophy cabinet, courtesy of a penalty shoot-out success over Chelsea. Pep Guardiola’s men have an FA Cup Final against Watford to look forward to in a month’s time - they are the hot favourites - and should they win their remaining five Premier League matches they’ll be crowned champions, and in the process become the first club to successfully defend the title in a decade.
“City will no doubt be devastated at the events from Wednesday night, but they must rapidly shake-off the anguish as they face the same opponents (Spurs) in the same stadium (Etihad) on Saturday afternoon.”
We’ll be back tomorrow when the dust has settled on today’s encounter…