Pressekonference i Parken

Neestrup, Claesson and Falk look to Man City encounter

F.C. Copenhagen head coach Jacob Neestrup says the Lions have a fighting chance of securing a positive result against Manchester City in Tuesday's UEFA Champions League last-16 first leg in Parken.

The boss was joined by Viktor Claesson and Rasmus Falk for Monday's press conference to preview the tie, which is a sell-out in the Danish capital.

City are defending champions of Europe and Neestrup accepts that the challenge ahead is a tough one for his players.

But he insists FCK have already proved the doubters wrong already this season.

"All teams have strengths and weaknesses, so you always have a chance," he said. "The most important thing is to be ourselves and play with the same mindset as in the group stage. We know they're a really good team, but like Bayern, (Manchester) United and Galatasaray, their players also only have two legs and two feet.

"It's a big test for us and the biggest we've had so far this season. For me, City are the best team in the world right now, even if you look back at recent seasons.

"But what's less likely? Beating City or progressing from a group with Bayern, United and Galatasaray, where after four-and-a-half games we were two goals down against United and needed six points in the two games? We have faced big challenges before and I have great faith in my team that they'll deliver a good performance and from there a match as close as possible.

"It's hard to pin down what a good performance is, but a good result is a draw and a perfect result is a win.

Rasmus Falk

"Realistically, they want the ball a lot more than us, but I hope there will be some kind of balance here, so that we can hurt them a little bit on turnovers when we are deep. I think we were good at that to the group stage and also in our winter break.

"We also have to have our periods on the ball, like against Bayern twice, at Old Trafford and against Galatasaray. We face a team that is extremely clear and systematic in what they do, but when the game is settled we have to offer something going forward the other way as well. At least we will do our best to achieve that."

Falk: 'We have tried to get the best start possible'
Tuesday's game is FCK's first competitive match since Denmark's winter break. The Lions haven't played a competitive game since before Christmas but Falk hopes the recent club friendlies has the team well prepared for what they are about to face.

The playmaker has been one of the central figures to FCK's European campaign this season and once again spoke to the global media ahead of another big showdown in Parken.

"It would of course have been an advantage if we were in the same rhythm as in the autumn, but it is an advantage for our Superliga campaign that we have City now," said Falk. "It is what it is, and we have known the situation for a long time.

"We have tried to get the best start possible with our training sessions and training matches, and I feel we are in a good place.

"Even though we haven't played competitive games (this year), we've been in the Czech Republic and Scotland in front of good crowds against good teams who were further ahead than us at the start of the tournament, so we've had the right intensity. I think we are where we need to be."

Falk's teammate Claesson has experience heading into European knockout competition immediately after a winter break.

"At Krasnodar I experienced playing after a long break and I think it was almost an advantage to be able to prepare for so long," said the Swede. "And City played on Saturday, so they may have tired legs, etc, while we arrive completely fresh and can give 100%, so it's not a complete disadvantage that we haven't played for a while."

Viktor Claesson

Parken ready for a big night
FCK have already confirmed that Tuesday's game will be a sell-out in Parken and the squad is looking forward to playing in front of another raucous crowd.

"I think it's going to work well," said Neestrup. "It was like this when we played against Bayern and we got off to a great start, also against Galatasaray. Even though we got off to a bad start against United, it was still a fantastic atmosphere that carried us to a historic result.

"The fact that Parken is going to rock tomorrow, it's going to help us from the start."

"Parken is just something special (for European games). For me, it's right up there with the big stadiums in Europe, and you will see that tomorrow. This is also why so many FCK teams have created great results and achievements against some very strong opponents over the past few years."

Falk added: "These European nights are always something special, and I have no doubt that we will have a fantastic atmosphere tomorrow."

Squad news
Neestrup also gave an update on the FCK squad heading into Tuesday's encounter.

"It is first and foremost tough for Lukas Lerager himself that he is suspended, because he, along with several others, has been the backbone of the team that has brought us here," said the head coach.

"We will be missing a skilled player, but fortunately we have been able to solve that before over the past 16 months or so, and we will also do that tomorrow.

"Birger Meling is in the squad and if he can maybe give something to the team for 10 or 15 minutes then we will do it. Nicolai Boilesen trained today and within the very foreseeable future he is available to be selected for matches."