Manchester City’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League have been dealt a blow with the news that Napoli will be facing a weakened Villarreal team at the Madrigal on Wednesday night.
With the Spanish side struggling in the wrong half of La Liga and in with no chance of even finishing third in Group A to reach the Europa League, coach Juan Carlos Garrido has decided that he will rest key players against the Partenopei.
“We are in a recovery phase so we have to give some players a few minutes playing time to introduce them gradually into the team,” the Villarreal boss said during his pre-game press conference.
“We will field the players who are in the best condition, the ones who can last for 90 minutes.
“We will use this match to restore our players' confidence, and obviously to get strength for the rest of the season.”
Garrido’s decision is a blow for City, who need to defeat Bayern Munich and hope that Villarreal take at least a point off Napoli in order to pip the Serie A side to second in the pool.
Garrido, though, insists that the Yellow Submarine are determined to finish what has been an arduous campaign on a high.
“We have been in the strongest group in the history of the Champions League and we want to leave the pitch knowing that we have played quality football,” he claimed.
“We want to finish this race showing our strength and that, even with so many injured players, this team can still play the same brand of good football that everyone expect from Villarreal.
“We do not care what Manchester City and Napoli do; we want to play well and have the satisfaction of having beaten a great team.”
Villarreal, who are 15th in La Liga and have lost all five of their previous games in Europe, have won just three games so far this season.