Man City on verge of next step

Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City are close to taking a significant step forward in their bid to join Europe's footballing elite.

Last Updated: 05/11/13 at 19:46 Post Comment

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes the club are close to taking a significant step forward in their bid to join Europe's footballing elite.

City have won the FA Cup and the Premier League since the 2008 Abu Dhabi-funded takeover that transformed their fortunes and making an impact on the continent is their next objective.

After exiting at the group stage of the Champions League in each of the past two seasons, City are now potentially within 90 minutes of reaching the last 16 for the first time.

Victory over CSKA Moscow in their latest Group D fixture at the Etihad Stadium would be enough to secure their route through if Bayern Munich also avoid an unlikely defeat to minnows Viktoria Plzen.

Pellegrini accepted qualification as a minimum requirement when he took charge of the club in the summer and recognises its importance.

He said: "For Manchester City it would be a really great achievement.

"We all know what happened the last two years - they couldn't get to the round of 16.

"For a club that is trying to grow every day, to go to the next round is very important."

Defender Pablo Zabaleta believes the time is right to make the leap, having witnessed all of the developments over the past five years at first hand.

Zabaleta joined the club the day before Sheikh Mansour took over and began the big spending that accelerated City's development.

The Argentinian said: "We know that the owners been spending much money to try and build a good team and try to have one of the best teams in Europe.

"Sometimes it takes time. We won the FA Cup and the Premier League, (but) the Champions League is a different competition. You play against the best teams in Europe.

"It is time for this club to take a step forward."

City beat CSKA 2-1 when the sides met on a poor surface in the Russian capital a fortnight ago.

One notable change since then is that Joe Hart has been deposed as number one goalkeeper and replaced by Costel Pantilimon after a series of errors.

Pantilimon made his Premier League debut in Saturday's 7-0 demolition of Norwich and Pellegrini has confirmed he will continue.

Pellegrini said: "I don't when Joe will come back to the team. It is very important for him to have a rest.

"He has played all the matches for two-and-a-half years.

"We will see in the future what we must do. For today, Pantilimon is playing."

CSKA need to win to keep realistic hopes of progress alive and their coach Leonid Slutsky hopes they can put Pantilimon under pressure.

He said: "Our main task will be to test Pantilimon, to see how good he is."


New Sky Bet customers: Claim free £5 bet every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

riting a minute by minute account on Berbatov would be like chronicling the days of the guy punished for sloth in the movie Se7en. Day 4 - lay in bed, did nothing - 15th minute, stood there did nothing .

lustral
Taking A Close Look At Mario...

W

hen players in their 30s leave Real Madrid, it's usually to Bolton Wanderers. I miss those days.

sailingmagpie
Top Ten CL Players Whetting Our Appetite

W

ow Pete, you would make an excellent stalker!

fouloleron
Taking A Close Look At Mario...

Footer 365

Champions League review: Big wins for Roma and Porto, Barca edge to victory

Roma and Porto earned big wins in the Champions League, while Barcelona opened their campaign with a narrow victory.

Champions League: Jose Mourinho rues missed chances in Schalke draw

Jose Mourinho bemoaned Chelsea's failure to kill off Schalke with a second goal before Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's equaliser.

Champions League: Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart left to rue late Bayern Munich winner

Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart admitted Jerome Boateng's late winner for Bayern Munich felt like a kick in the teeth.

Mail Box

I've Given It Some Thought: He's Got To Go

There is some more considered reaction to Arsenal and Liverpool's results, plus a big get well soon message for Jonas Gutierrez. And an apology to Merse...

B**locks To That, I'm Going To Sit In The Shed

Arsenal supporters given their understandable reaction to the debacle in Dortmund, whilst Liverpool fans weren't too impressed either. Still, at least they won...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property