Clichy prepares for emotional Wembley final

Date published: Saturday 27th February 2016 2:26

Gael Clichy is preparing for his first visit to Wembley since the national stadium paid tribute to the victims of the Bataclan Paris attacks.

The French left-back is hoping to be part of the Manchester City side that takes on Liverpool at the national stadium for the season’s first silverware.

But for the 30-year-old, Wembley means much more than football as memories are sure to come flooding back of last November’s friendly between England and France.

Clichy was not part of the France squad that night, after the start of his season was ruined by an ankle injury – but the emotion of the occasion affected him greatly.

The game took place just four days after the Bataclan Paris attacks in which 129 people were killed and fans and players of both sides stood together to sing the French national anthem in tribute to those lost.

“Even though I am not an English player, Wembley is a name you know when you are a kid,” said Clichy. “You want to play in those kind of stadiums.

“It is an amazing stadium and hopefully it will be full with blue and red colours, but right now the image that comes to mind was the game England played against France and seeing those colours, everyone united for the same reason.

“I think football is a beautiful game and those kind of days are beautiful and that is why we play football. Of course we want to win it but we are going to try to enjoy it as well.”

Clichy is not a certain starter as both he and Aleksandar Kolarov are used regularly by manager Manuel Pellegrini in the left-back slot.

But Clichy has nothing but respect for Pellegrini, who is to leave City at the end of the season to make way for Pep Guardiola, and would like to see the 62-year-old Chilean go out on a high.

Clichy, who joined City in 2011 after eight years at Arsenal, said: “Yes, we have been together for three years now and we have to live in the present – and the present is with Manuel Pellegrini.

“He reminds me a bit of Arsene Wenger – very calm. Whatever situation we are in he always try to keep the players calm. That is a massive point for a manager and the players.

“You can have a reaction by telling off the players but sometimes you can gain a lot of confidence by being calm and he is the kind of manager that brings calmness to the dressing room.

“I think for this game he will be exactly the same. He will want us to play the way we want to play. With the quality we have, if we start the game well, there is no reason why we should not have a great game. Hopefully it will be one of those games where things go well for us.”

City go into the game after an uplifting Champions League win at Dynamo Kiev – a result that not only put the club in sight of the quarter-finals for the first time but lifted some gloom after three successive defeats.

City can still win three trophies this season, but Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are a tough obstacle blocking the path to the first.

Clichy said: “I think he (Klopp) is a really good manager and it is a fantastic club, one of the best in England and Europe. We know what to expect from them – great players, great team.

“You want to win every game but a final is something special. What to expect from them is a hard game with talented players and hopefully the best team will win.”

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