Vincent Kompany has played down talk of a quadruple as Manchester City face FC Basel in the Champions League last 16 tonight, the Swiss side with previous for upsetting other illustrious visitors.
In recent seasons the Swiss champions have claimed the scalps of Bayern Munich in 2012 and City’s rivals Manchester United in December, beating both 1-0 at home.
City captain Kompany said Basel’s warning has not gone ignored despite the possibility of becoming the first English side to win all four major trophies in a season.
“Have we thought about it? No, not at all,” the Belgian told City’s website.
“The key thing I’ve noticed – I can’t say if it will get us all the trophies – is the ability to switch back on for every game, motivation, respect for opponents, to make sure we are 100%.
“I’ve not experienced it in any team I’ve been in before. Quadruple talk – there’s been none – but winning the next game and the next one, always.”
This may seem overly-cautious given their commanding performances this season, however prospects of a clean sheet seem particularly unlikely given the outrageous attacking potential of City, boosted by the return of David Silva and Leroy Sane to training this week.
With the league essentially wrapped up, City lead by 16 points with 11 games to go, Pep Guardiola will be able to name a full strength team.
Red-hot Sergio Aguero is likely to feature, the Argentine fresh from plundering four goals against Leicester City last Saturday having already scored more (10) in 2018 than Basel’s top scorer Dimitri Oberlin has managed in the whole season (nine).
A tough night should be expected for Basel who may revert to a back four, ditching the 3-4-3 formation that served them well in the group stages.
They have the Swiss Super League’s stingiest defence, but they are disrupted by the loss of the pivotal Manuel Akanji to Borussia Dortmund in January.
“We need a perfect night to stage a surprise but we have the belief we can do it,” said Basel coach Raphael Wicky.
“We have to be realistic. We won’t have 50-60 percent ball possession. That’s clear, no team has that against them.
“We need to be compact and be careful but there will be moments when we have the ball. We have to show courage and try to be active.”
Basel have won four of their last five Champions League home games against English teams but it seems unlikely that they will add to that tally tonight.
City may have flattered to deceive since their first appearance in the Champions League in 2011, but this season is their best chance yet for glory.
Prediction: 3-0 to City
Image courtesy of Vincent Kompany via Twitter, with thanks.