City’s Navas focused on winning ‘special’ game

Date published: Wednesday 21st October 2015 8:53

Jesus Navas Manchester City TEAMtalk

Jesus Navas faces an emotional reunion with former club Sevilla as Manchester City look to take another step towards the Champions League knockout stages.

The Seville-born winger made 393 appearances for his hometown club, winning the UEFA Cup twice and two Spanish Cups, before joining City in a £14.9million deal in 2013.

The 29-year-old retains a strong attachment to Los Rojiblancos but knows there can be no room for sentiment as his past and present sides clash in a Group D encounter at the Etihad Stadium.

Navas said: “It is a special moment and an important game for me, after everything I experienced and lived through in Seville, what they gave me, what I enjoyed and what we achieved together. There are a lot of good feelings there.

“But I have got to think about the three points only. We just have to concentrate on ourselves, on giving a good performance and taking a big step towards qualification for the next stage. It is an important game for everybody.”

Navas is a likely starter in a three-man attacking line also including Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne that will be playing behind striker Wilfried Bony. Leading striker Sergio Aguero and playmakers David Silva and Samir Nasri are injured.

Both sides go into the game with three points from two games, trailing group leaders Juventus by three.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini sees the fixture, and the return at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in a fortnight, as pivotal to the group campaign.

The Chilean said: “You never know because after that we have to play two more games, but at this moment I think these two games will decide which one of the sides will qualify.”

Sevilla have not won in England in three previous visits but have strong pedigree having won the Europa League for the past two seasons.

Pellegrini said: “No one gives them as a gift the two Europa Leagues they won. They have important players, a good manager and are a very good team.”

Pellegrini’s opposite number Unai Emery paid tribute to one of his club’s favourite old boys as he arrived in Manchester for the game.

The 43-year-old, who has been nominated for the FIFA World Coach of the Year award and was linked with West Ham last summer, said: “We know what Jesus Navas means to Sevilla. We are very happy for him and happy he is playing and getting game time. We know he is contributing and he is a top, top player. He is a lovely person as well.”

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