Vincent Kompany is convinced Manchester City are now good enough to win the Champions League.
City resume their latest campaign in Basel tonight and their captain’s confidence is understandable given this season’s exhilarating form.
But they have not always looked at home in the competition, with their early challenges hugely underwhelming.
The obvious exception was their surprise run to the semi-finals under Manuel Pellegrini in 2016 but they were a long way then from being the irrepressible force Pep Guardiola has moulded them into this term.
Kompany, speaking in Switzerland ahead of the first leg of City’s last-16 tie, said: “We’ve been caught out on occasions when we shouldn’t have been but I think things have changed now.
“If there is a year, a time, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home in the competition then it’s now.
“I’m not going to say it’s a matter of time because some clubs never win it but, if every year we can go in with this kind of confidence, then if not this year, or next year, eventually we’ll get there. I’m sure of it.”
With City also 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League and still involved in both domestic cup competitions, talk of a clean sweep of four trophies continues to grow.
But Kompany insists it is never mentioned in the dressing room.
“No, not at all,” said the 31-year-old defender said. “Talk of the quadruple – none, but of winning the next game, next game, next game and that belief – always.”
Leroy Sane could make a surprise return to the City side at St Jakob-Park after returning to full training on Monday morning and proving his fitness to travel.
The German winger was expected to be out for around another month after suffering ankle ligament damage in the FA Cup win at Cardiff just over a fortnight ago.
His recovery has been rapid, surprising and delighting Guardiola.
The City manager said: “I’m surprised. He has worked a lot but I couldn’t expect, with a young guy, how professional he was.
“He is not in perfect condition but he is with us. He wants to help us. That is good news. He and the physios did a good job.”