Man City are ‘quietly confident’ of reaching the Champions League final, says John Stones – as defender insists previous disappointments have been ‘used as fuel to go and motivate’ them ahead of PSG semi-final second-leg tie
- Manchester City host PSG in the second leg of their Champions League semi
- City go into Tuesday night’s tie with a 2-1 lead after winning in Paris on April 28
- Pep Guardiola’s side are bidding to reach their first-ever Champions League final
Stones, who will partner Ruben Dias in central defence, believes channelling their past failures have lit the fuse for progression this year.
John Stones backs he and his Manchester City team-mates to get the job done against PSG
City go into their Champions League semi-final second leg on Tuesday night with a 2-1 lead
‘I do think all those things that have happened have made us a stronger team,’ he said.
‘The disappointment of getting knocked out in harsh circumstances is hard to take and something we have had to use as fuel to go and motivate us to make that next step from the previous season and to try and get our goal which is to win this competition.
‘This season we have a great opportunity to get into the final which hopefully we can do. We have tried to use those emotions of disappointment to motivate us to do better.
‘We are quietly confident, we have to be. It is a big occasion for us, for the club. We have to go into the game how we left off in the second half last week, a great result coming away from Paris with two away goals.’
City will have to keep Neymar quiet at the Etihad Stadium, with doubts over the fitness of Kylian Mbappe after he missed the weekend win over Lens, although the striker is expected to travel to Manchester.
Stones insisted that Pep Guardiola’s side have to attack the tie rather than preserve their lead against a team that prefers playing away from home.
‘I don’t even want to think about losing,’ he added. ‘We go into the game tomorrow to win it. That has been our mindset over the past five years that I have been here – being who we are playing the way we do.
‘If it doesn’t work out we can hold our heads high knowing we have given everything. I am very confident in the lads and their ability and desire. I am confident we can make the next step in our history.
Stones says he and his City team-mates have learned from past disappointments in Europe
‘I think we have to attack the game as we would every other game, to go out and win. We have never gone into a game thinking otherwise, that the job is done. It is a downward spiral if we go into a game like that. Play as Man City and as we always play.’
Guardiola concurred. ‘What we have to do is win the game,’ he said. ‘We Just speak about us, us and us. Defend well, attack with patience and score the goals in the right moments.
‘I think in the bad moments we will react well. We know how good we can be. Unfortunately it’s just words (now) but tomorrow at eight o’clock we have to do it.
‘I’m incredibly optimistic. I’m more calm than before. I try to enjoy it. They’re training well, everyone wants to help. The semi-final is always the toughest game, more than the final. We’ll try to control our emotions. I’ll try to convince the players that is the best way to win this game.’