De Jong - We lacked energy

Man City midfielder still confident of Europa League progression

Nigel de Jong: Believes Man City can still come through Europa League tie

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Nigel de Jong has admitted that Manchester City produced a sluggish performance against Sporting on Thursday but is confident of making amends in next week's second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

City will have to overcome a 1-0 deficit to reach the Europa League quarter-finals after losing to a Xandao goal in Lisbon in the first leg of their tie.

De Jong accepts that City were not at their best but feels they must still be regarded as favourites due to their exceptional home record.

The Holland international, who returned to the side in place of suspended talisman Yaya Toure, said: "It wasn't the best performance - we were lacking a little bit of energy.

"The tempo was too slow and it doesn't matter what opponent you have in front of you, you can always give them chances to get back in the game, and you could see that last night.

Big threat

"We are lucky we have two games, and everyone knows how we play at home, and we are confident we can go through to the next round.

"All credit to Sporting as they played their hearts out, but quality-wise we will just have to see when we are at home."

It was a frustrating night for City as they had to contend with a resilient side who were organised at the back but also carried an attacking threat.

De Jong, 27, said: "They dropped back quite a lot but that's how a lot of opponents see us nowadays, as a big club, a big target and a big threat, so they come with 11 men behind the ball and from there try to counter us.

"We had most of the possession but that doesn't win you games - it's scoring goals that wins you games."