Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong has claimed his side are in a “do or die” situation this week as they prepare for a Premier League crunch clash against Tottenham and the FA Cup final against Stoke City.
The 26-year-old’s rallying call comes after Roberto Mancini’s side were beaten 2-1 by Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, leaving them still needing a point from their remaining two games to secure Champions League qualification for next season.
The setback could not have come at a worse time, with City heading into perhaps the most important week in the club’s recent history.
Roberto Mancini’s side are able to secure fourth place by avoiding defeat at home to Spurs on Tuesday evening, before having the opportunity to end the club’s 35-year wait for a major trophy in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Stoke.
The significance of the next seven days is certainly not lost on De Jong, who has warned his side that they cannot afford a repeat of their tame performance against Everton if they are to end their season on a high.
“This is a very important week for the club, the players and the fans. This is do or die for Manchester City,” he told reporters.
“Fourth place is in reach and everything is in our hands. We just have to win that game.
“We then have a chance to be FA Cup winners - but we have to learn from this game at Everton.
“We were sloppy in our passing, and lost every second ball. They came out with their long balls, set pieces and that is their main danger.
“It is not like they out footballed us because we dominated them when it was about passing on the pitch. But sometimes you have got to grind through, and now we just have to get our heads clear again.”
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