Gareth Barry has urged his Manchester City teammates not to under-estimate the challenge of Wigan Athletic, despite their lowly position in the Barclays Premier League.
The Latics host Roberto Mancini’s leaders in a classic top-versus-bottom encounter, with little to suggest that Roberto Martinez’s side will be capable of producing a huge upset at the DW Stadium.
But, in a season of crazy results in the top flight, Barry is under no illusions that City will face a challenge against their Lancashire rivals, and will need to be at their best to take all three points.
“We need to get together and put a big team performance on Monday night. Wigan can be a funny sort of side - sometimes they can perform really well and there are other times when they just aren’t at the races,” Barry told the official City website.
“It’s one of those games where we know that we have to concentrate on what we do above all else and perform to our highest ability, because if Wigan turn up on the day and play their best game it’s going to be very tough.
“They’ve got some players with flair so maybe they’ll try and take the game to us. They are the home team so the onus should be on them, but sometimes it doesn’t work like that.”
City assistant boss David Platt was another to suggest that Wigan will stick to their football philosophy against tonight’s opponents, despite the gulf in class funded by the riches available at the Etihad Stadium.
Barry suggests that attractive football isn’t always the way to win matches however, and is confident both he and his teammates can mix-it with a different style if needed in-front of their loyal traveling support.
"We’re lucky that it’s just down the road and our fans always turn out in numbers so we’ll have great support there. It’s down to us now to get a positive result and make their journey worthwhile,” added the England international.
"We know people will be watching us at Wigan to see how we do and how we respond to this sticky patch we’re in. If that means going there and not playing great football but winning, we’re going to have to roll up our sleeves and do that.
"It’s impossible to dominate the whole league playing fantastic football and winning by three or four goals every game. Everyone in the dressing rooms needs to roll their sleeves up so we can get back to winning ways ahead of the Spurs match."