Defender Manuel Akanji admits Man City made ‘a lot of mistakes’ against Leipzig

Manuel Akanji in action for Manchester City against Leipzig (David Davies/PA)
Manuel Akanji in action for Manchester City against Leipzig (David Davies/PA)

Manuel Akanji admits Manchester City need to cut out the errors after being exposed in their comeback victory over RB Leipzig at the Etihad Stadium.

The holders trailed 2-0 after a lacklustre first-half display in Tuesday’s Champions League encounter before a Phil Foden-inspired recovery saw them fight back to win 3-2.

With their place in the last 16 already secure, there was little cause for alarm on the night but, after recent Premier League draws against Chelsea and Liverpool, the champions are not fully firing.

Lois Openda
Lois Openda fired Leipzig into a 2-0 lead at the Etihad Stadium (Martin Rickett/PA)

Switzerland defender Akanji said: “We didn’t play well in the first half. We did a lot of mistakes, (in) a lot of duels.

“We had it change it in the second half. We spoke in half-time that we needed to do better. It still wasn’t great but we improved a lot, we didn’t do many of the mistakes.

“It happens sometimes. We didn’t plan to go into the game like this. The first goal was me losing a duel off the long ball, the second one was Ruben (Dias) after the pass and it happens sometimes.

“Normally we don’t do these mistakes but the good thing is we’ve got a good team.

“Now we have important games before the Club World Cup against Spurs and Villa and we need to really focus on these games. We need points because we drew twice so it’s really important to get winning again.”

Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland’s goal was his 40th in Champions League competition (Martin Rickett/PA)

Akanji was indeed at fault for the first of Lois Openda’s two first-half goals, with Dias caught out for the second.

Foden sparked the comeback when he teed up Erling Haaland to become fastest player to reach 40 Champions League goals in just his 35th appearance.

The England midfielder then scored a sublime equaliser before showing further nimble footwork to set up the late winner for substitute Julian Alvarez.

The victory ensures City, who travel to Red Star Belgrade next month, will finish top of Group G.

Manchester City v RB Leipzig – UEFA Champions League – Group G – Etihad Stadium
Phil Foden scores Manchester City’s second goal against Leipzig (Martin Rickett/PA)

With John Stones again not fit enough to feature, Akanji played in the defence-midfield hybrid role his colleague has excelled in.

“I like it,” Akanji said. “I play wherever the manager puts me but also in the Chelsea game and the weekend against Liverpool I felt more comfortable in there because I got used to the position.

“When you come from defence into midfield it’s a big difference because normally you have all the game in front of you and suddenly there are players coming from all angles.

“But I got a better orientation with the game set-up so I felt more confident. I can adapt pretty good. I play in different positions. I try to listen and do what the manager wants from me.”