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City ready for Rosler's return

Manchester City welcome back former striker Uwe Rosler as Wigan manager but want vengeance for 2013 FA Cup loss.

Last updated: 09 Mar 2014 18:12
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Rosler says he will put his emotions aside when Wigan kick off against his former club in the FA Cup [GALLO/GETTY]

The English FA Cup may have lost some of its old glory, but now and then a story appears that makes the weekend's Premier League matches a sideshow.

Manchester City take on second-tier Wigan Athletic in the quarter-finals on Sunday in a match that would be unremarkable were it not for the extraordinary events in last year's final – and the man who will be in the dugout for Wigan.

Uwe Rosler became a cult hero during four years at City, when the former East Germany striker's efforts provided brightness in a period of gloom that saw the now-mighty team relegated from the Premier League and eventually fall to the third rung of English football.

The mutual love has continued, with Rosler inspired in his later battle against cancer by the sound of City fans chanting his name on the terraces.

Now Rosler is the man charged with guiding Wigan to their second upset over City in as many seasons, following their shock 1-0 win at Wembley to lift a major trophy for the first time in their short and unglamorous history.

'Great bond'

"I have never made a secret either as player or as a manager of my great bond with City," Rosler, who was the club's leading scorer from 1994 to 1997, told their website.
 
"But I am coming back as the manager of Wigan Athletic, a fantastic football club, and have a professional job to do."

After only joining the top four divisions in 1978, Wigan can perhaps count themselves something of a fantastic club for a journey that ended with captain Emmerson Boyce and then-manager Roberto Martinez lifting the FA Cup in London in May.

Sergio Aguero, who has 26 goals in all competitions for City this season, should return from injury [AP]

The final against City, who had the likes of Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez in their starting lineup, seemed a foregone conclusion in favour of English football's richest team – against one that had achieved promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 2005 and were battling for survival after those eight years in the top division.

So for Wigan fans, Ben Watson's late headed winner on his return from a broken leg felt more like a hallucination than the realisation of a dream.

With City even more powerful this year, considering victory for a team that was relegated a few days after the cup triumph would surely be an overdose on unrealistic expectation.

But Wigan have won their last four matches, beaten Premier League Crystal Palace and Cardiff in the FA Cup, and have risen to the playoff places in the league after Rosler took over from Martinez's replacement Owen Coyle in December.

"We want to produce a result that makes our supporters proud and hopefully we can achieve that," Rosler said – before suggesting that a defensive approach was out of the question against a team that has scored 121 goals in their four major competitions this season, and beat Sunderland in the League Cup final last week.

"If we do what everyone else does against City we will be beaten, so we have to do something different. We cannot park the bus."

First Wigan, then Barca

Wigan lost 5-0 to City in the League Cup under Coyle in September and many will be expecting that scoreline or worse.

But Manuel Pellegrini, who will have to immediately turn his attention to next week's Champions League second leg in Barcelona after the match, said Sunday's visitors to Eastlands could still be dangerous.

"We know it is a tough game, and it will not be an easy game," Pellegrini, who took over from Roberto Mancini in the summer, said.

"They are playing very well, and have won their last four games. When we finish the game on Sunday we will start thinking about Barcelona."

Despite losing 2-0 at home to Barca in the last 16 first leg, Pellegrini is not totally dismissing the chances of a quadruple haul of the trophies – with the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup still to play for ahead of the Wigan match.

"It is very good for the squad at this stage of the season to have a chance to win all competitions, but it is not a target we are under pressure to achieve," he said.

"It is very important for me to always work under pressure, but we are not thinking that we are going to win all the domestic titles or international titles, we are just trying to win every match.

"The only pressure we have is to win on Sunday."

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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