Football

'Monaco can knock out City'

Ex-Liverpool boss Houllier believes French side's attacking prowess can trouble Pep's men

ROUND OF 16, 2ND LEG 

MONACO MAN CITY
  • Man City lead 5-3 from first leg

They have scored a whopping 84 goals in 29 league games, which works out to be 2.90 goals per game.

Little wonder that Monaco are three points clear of star-studded Paris St Germain in French Ligue 1.

And it is their array of attacking talent, and the fearlessness of their youthful squad, that give them hope of upsetting Manchester City in their Round-of-16, second-leg clash tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

The principality side trail 5-3 after a remarkable first leg, in which they held a 3-2 advantage at one juncture.

Naivety in the closing stages cost the French side, but former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier believes Leonardo Jardim's men have the potential to worry the Premier League giants.

"If Monaco score a goal, their opponents will start to worry," Houllier told L'Equipe.

"Offensively, they have many different threats between Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, Radamel Falcao, a fox in the box, and Thomas Lemar.

"They can still progress, even if this remains a very important match for City."

The former France coach, who is now an adviser to Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, believes that only inexperience prevented Monaco from obtaining better result in the first leg.

"It was a crazy match, when one goal followed another," said the former Reds boss.

"I think, in any case, Monaco are not a team with the experience or the maturity to allow them to manage a result.

"And that is what brings them their strength and flair. It's why they can still qualify."

Monaco are keeping their fingers crossed that striker Falcao will be fit for tomorrow morning's clash at the Stade Louis II.

The Colombian came off the bench for the last 25 minutes for Monaco's 2-1 win over Bordeaux last Saturday and immediately inspired the opening goal for Kylian Mbappe.

Coach Jardim revealed that Falcao suffered a hip injury in the final moments of the match, but the 31-year-old returned to training in a limited capacity on Monday and gave an encouraging update on his fitness.

"I feel good. I hope I will play," said the former Chelsea and Manchester United forward, who scored twice but also missed a penalty in the first leg.

If Falcao recovers from his hip injury, he is expected to start in a 4-4-2 formation alongside prodigy Kylian Mbappe with Bernardo Silva, another young gem in the squad, expected to provide them with scoring opportunities.

At just 18, Mbappe is already turning heads around Europe after tormenting defences throughout France and scoring against City in the first leg two weeks ago.

With 16 goals in 30 appearances for Monaco this season, including nine in his past eight games, the teenage prodigy is drawing plenty of comparisons to former France star Thierry Henry.

With City's defence their weak link and Monaco's attack so strong, Pep Guardiola has indicated that he was unlikely to change his philosophy and adopt a more defensive outlook.

A case in point is PSG, who failed to protect a 4-0 first-leg lead against Barcelona with their defensive approach last week.

City midfielder Yaya Toure said: "From my point of view, and maybe the manager's too, the best way to defend is to attack.

"If you sit deeper... when I watched PSG-Barcelona, PSG had fantastic players up front, but they were trying to defend.

"When you go and play games like that and you are four goals in front, I think that is the wrong thing to do.

"We are going to attack, we never do it the other way, we will attack and they will expect that as well. The best defence is try to score." - WIRE SERVICES