“We must win, or it’s bye bye Champions League”
Those were Poch’s words after the Leverkusen debacle I believe, or something similar anyway. The maths doesn’t totally support him if I’ve understood the state of things correctly – technically we could go through with two draws and six points if Leverkusen get well beaten in their last two games. If, however the Germans win tonight and we don’t, then that is that and the ‘consolation’ of the Europa League beckons.
This team of ours is full of surprises, the last five minutes on Saturday being a prime example, but one thing was consistent throughout last season and that was our inability to produce results in the big games. Whenever we had the chance to go top, even if it was for a few hours, or put pressure on Leicester in the title ‘race’, things went badly. West Ham away, West Brom at home, the Gooners at home, Chelsea away and of course the nightmare last day of the season. All very disappointing.
So tonight we’ll put out a team still minus important players and cobbled together with old hands, some walking wounded and with possibly a youngster or two thrown in at the deep end. Somehow they have to see off an in form side sitting second in the French league, averaging three goals a game and who have already beaten us of course.
We’ll need a huge raising of standards compared to what we’ve seen lately and we’ll also need a load of luck. We’ll need the type of performance we saw at the Emirates but combined with clinical finishing.
Most of all though, we need to show that we don’t fear the occasion.
It’s a chance to make history and set up an epic night at Wembley in a few weeks’ time.
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