11 Mar Oleksandr Zinchenko: Manchester City looking to bounce back from rare home defeat
Manchester City are in the unfamiliar position of needing to shrug off a defeat as they look to resume their title charge at Stoke on Monday.
The Premier League leaders were beaten for only the fourth time in 46 matches in all competitions in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Basel on Wednesday.
Admittedly it was an inconsequential game, with City’s emphatic first-leg win still ensuring an aggregate 5-2 success, and Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Ederson were among the star names to sit out.
Yet it was still a blow to the pride nevertheless, ending a 15-month unbeaten run at the Etihad Stadium, and Ukrainian youngster Oleksandr Zinchenko says lessons need to be learned.
The 21-year-old, who has filled in at left-back this season during Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph absences, said: “We did a lot of simple mistakes, especially passes. At 4-0 (from the first leg) it was not the best game for us, but we didn’t have to play like that.
“We need to make some analysis of that because we are still learning, we are not machines. We can play like that sometimes.
“The most important thing was we got through, but that was the only positive from the night.
“But now we have to look forward because we have a lot of games this season, especially in the Premier League and we can win two (more) titles. Now we focus on Stoke.”
City followed up their last loss, to League One Wigan in the FA Cup last month, by thrashing Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final in their next outing.
After that they went on to beat Arsenal again, and then Chelsea, in the Premier League to move within four wins of claiming the title with nine games remaining.
They now head to the bet365 Stadium to face a Stoke side anxious for points at the opposite end of the table. The Potters were thrashed 7-2 when the sides last met in October.
Silva returns for City after missing the Basel game for personal reasons and several rested stars are also likely to be back in action. Fernandinho and Raheem Sterling are hoping to prove their fitness after hamstring injuries.