Manchester City defender Kyle Walker has tasked his teammates to step up in the remainder of the campaign, claiming that Pep Guardiola can only do so much for the club but they will need to deliver on the pitch.
Since joining City, Guardiola has not gone past the quarter final stage of the Champions League, while he last won the competition in 2011 with Barcelona.
However, the Citizens have an opportunity to break that duck when they face Olympique Lyon on Saturday, with the Premier League side tipped as favourites to sail through. But Walker has warned his side that they can’t afford to make mistakes over the weekend if they are to go past the French outfit.
“Obviously, Pep can deliver what he delivers in the team talks and we listen, but I think it is down to us as players and what happens in both boxes,” the England defender said. “You make a mistake in a big game like this and you are going to get punished and vice versa. If they make a mistake in their box, like we showed against Real Madrod, we can punish any team. Hopefully, we can hit the ground running, get a good start in the game and get the momentum going and really take the game to them.”
Having beaten City at the Etihad Stadium and claimed a draw with them in France in last season’s group stage games, the England international is wary of the threat from the Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon, who beat eliminated Juventus to progress into the next stage.
Walker is hopeful City sharpness could prove vital on Saturday knowing that Lyon’s game against the Serie A side was just their second game since March.
Beating Madrid] gives us a little bit [of confidence] because the teams such as Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon have not really played much football so hopefully we can use that to our advantage,” he added. “They have got good players. We have watched a few clips of them and they look a really good team so it is going to be very difficult but we are just going to use the game plan, listen to the tactics from the boss and hopefully that will see us over the line.
“I think [knocking out Juventus] speaks volumes in itself. This year they don’t have the players that they had when we played against them but, again, they have just knocked Juventus out and you need to be a very good team, very disciplined to beat Juventus over two legs.
“It is going to be a difficult game but I feel it can swing in our way that it is over just the one leg and we can really attack the game and play every game like a final.”
The defender has also insisted he aiming to win the Champions League having won all domestic honours with Guardiola’s side since joining from Tottenham Hotspur.
“I think if you had asked me this when I signed here I would have probably said that the Premier League was the big one for me having not won it before I came here,” he said. “Now I have collected two of them and a number of others and this is the one that I want, and I can probably speak on behalf of the whole squad and Manchester City as well for what they need as a club to put them onto that next pedestal.”