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Basel boss Wicky plots next Manchester shock

Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) – Basel coach Raphael Wicky is planning another upset against Manchester City in Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 first leg, after shocking Manchester United in this season’s group stage.

Jose Mourinho’s United suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat at Basel’s Sankt Jakob Park in November but still finished as Group A winners with the Swiss side second.

Former Switzerland international Wicky is now hoping for another “perfect” night against Pep Guardiola’s high-flying City in the home leg of their knock-out tie. 

Having already described United as a team with “no obvious weaknesses” earlier this season, Wicky used the same compliment for their Manchester neighbours.

“Of course, we have a plan for tomorrow night, there is no tactical strategy, but we have the belief and the mentality that we can do it,” said Wicky.

“But we’ll need a perfect day – they virtually have no weaknesses.”

The Swiss have their work cut out containing a City side which landed in Basel holding a 16-point lead in the Premier League.

Guardiola’s side arrive full of confidence in the wake of Saturday’s 5-1 thrashing of Leicester City when Sergio Aguero scored four of his team-leading 28 goals this campaign.

Wicky admits his side must be brave and expect City to dominate possession as they have so often done this season.

“We have to be realistic, we’re not going to have 50 or 60 percent possession,” he said.

“We will have to be solid, very compact, focused in every second and brave enough to do something with it when we do get the ball.”

Wicky is hoping Colombia centre-back Eder Balanta, who would be up against Aguero, comes through a fitness test on a thigh injury on Tuesday morning.

Midfielder Luca Zuffi, who recently returned to training after foot surgery, is also “an option”.

Basel’s captain, Czech Republic defender Marek Suchy, is relishing the “big challenge” and especially the threat posed by City’s Kevin De Bruyne who created three goals in the Leicester rout. 

“The players and the coach they have are from another world,” said Suchy.

“We just have to make it hard for them,” he added, with the return leg in Manchester on March 7.

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