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Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur – Match preview as Akanji shares his thoughts

Manchester City will host Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad stadium, kick-off on Thursday 19 January is set for 20:00 (UK) or 22:00 (CAT) as Pep Guardiola’s men look to close the gap on Premier League leaders Arsenal to five points.

Manuel Akanji believes Thursday’s Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur is an opportunity for City to once again show what they are capable of.

The Swiss defender is under no illusions that victory against Antonio Conte’s side is far from a foregone conclusion, but he is focused on putting things right following a slender 2-1 defeat in the 189th Manchester derby.

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Indeed, Akanji is confident that, should they keep things tight at the back, City have more than enough quality at the sharp end to get over the line against Antonio Conte’s side.

“Hopefully we can show [our improvement] on Thursday against Tottenham,” the defender said.

“It won’t be an easy game, but also when we get the lead, we have to be clear in our heads. We’ve got to finish our attacks, defend together until the last minute and keep a clean sheet.

I think in every game if we can keep a clean sheet our attackers are always capable of scoring a goal. If we don’t concede goals, we can make the most of the game – that’s the goal for the next game.

There are still 20 games to go, there’s 60 points to get and hopefully we’ll get all of them.”

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The Spurs match presents City with an opportunity to get back to winning ways after defeats in their last two matches to Southampton in the Carabao Cup and Manchester United in the Premier League.

Akanji concedes that he and his team-mates were a little off colour against the Saints but believes our display at Old Trafford was much closer to our usual standards.

The Swiss international hopes those improvements will continue on Thursday evening as the business end of the season begins to come into view.

He reflected: “The Southampton game was totally different to [Manchester United].

We didn’t do well in that game, we lost a lot of duels, we didn’t play well with the ball, I think we did a lot better [on Saturday].

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We were in a good position for a long time and then we conceded the two goals. For me, it’s a different game than it was against Southampton.

I think our performance was better than on Wednesday but still in the end in the league it’s the three points that matter.

We should have come out of it with these three points, but we made some mistakes, and we have to improve for the next game.”

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