After a dominating win at the weekend against Bournemouth in the Premier League it is now Sevilla to which Pellegrini must now turn his attention. City are just below their Wednesday night visitors on goal difference and so, with home field advantage in mind, another win is needed.
Against the Spanish though it doesn't make great reading for Manchester City who have faced opposition from Spain on thirteen occasions, yes the odd number threw me at first also. Of those thirteen games, only three have ended with victory for the blues and seven defeats. At home though it is a bit more balanced, two wins, two draws and two defeats.
The defeats, of course, were mainly against Real Madrid and Barcelona. Five of the seven, in fact, were against those two sides. The other two defeats came away to Valencia on September 27th 1972 while the other was on the 18th December 2008 to Real Racing Club, again away.
Interestingly the first time a City side met a Spanish side in European competition was just over 46 years ago. City traveled to Atletico Bilbao and came away with a 3-3 draw on September 17th thanks to goals from Neil Young, Tommy Booth and an own goal from Echevarria. The return leg, in Manchester, saw Alan Oakes, Colin Bell and Ian Bowyer score to give City a 6-3 overall score line over the two legs. It would be the last goal they would concede until the Semi Finals, which they overcame, to eventually lift the trophy and came in the second season after lifting the title.
Alvero Negrado a.k.a the beast, played for both Manchester City and Sevilla, although many City fans would surely have liked to have seen the guy stay a little longer at the Etihad. Jesus Navas came to City from Sevilla the same time as Negredo but is still in the blue of City. Ten years at Sevilla, as boy and man, before moving to City in 2013 the young winger has not scored as many as fans might like but against his old side, who knows what the little man could do.
Pellegrini has faced his opposite number nine times and only lost on three occasions and the Sevilla manager had our own little Merlin in his side while manager of Valencia. The key to City's success tomorrow might be in the form of one Steven N'Zonzi. The guy doesn't have much luck against City with his EPL debut for Blackburn and his debut for Stoke both comprising of defeats to City. Only once has he been on the winning side against City in 11 tries but there is another, even more link I could make between these two clubs who have never met in competition.
In 2005, when Stuart Pearce was in charge of City and long before Mancini, Pellegrini or Sheikh Mansour arrived, we faced a last game against Middlesbrough in which the winners went into the UEFA Cup. Well, City needed the win, Boro just needed a draw. A Kiki Musampa goal had us level when on came City goal keeping legend, Nicky Weaver. He went in goal and David James went up front, his height an advantage in the box to try to find that winning goal. In the last minute a penalty was awarded to City and Robbie Fowler stepped up, and missed. Boro went to Europe and City didn't but had a story about their two keepers on the pitch at the same time.
Boro went all the way to the final the next year where they were eventually beaten by a Jesus Navas featured Sevilla side.