Former Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott believes the club are “favourites at every stage” of this year’s Champions League as Pep Guardiola has “eradicated complacency” in the side he has built.
City won the Champions League for the first time in their history last season. It came as part of a historic treble-winning season, in which they also won the Premier League and FA Cup.
They breezed through to the round of 16 this term, not dropping a single point in the group stage. They face Copenhagen in the next round, and Lescott feels they’ll push them aside along with every club they meet until at least the semi-finals.
“It’s a tough place to go with a great atmosphere and they use that to their advantage. They’re a good team and well-organised,” he told TNT Sports.
“I do believe that City have enough for most teams or pretty much any team over two legs, because they average two goals a game maybe, which means you’re having to score three or four.”
“They will be the favourites at every stage of the competition, until the semi-finals – if they progress that far. That doesn’t guarantee they go through, but I would like to believe they will have too much for Copenhagen.”
Their struggles were minimal at each stage of the knockouts last season, and Lescott believes it’s because Guardiola has instilled a culture of not letting up at any time.
“Since Pep came in, I think he approached every game the same way. He’s maintained that approach and there has been no complacency at any time,” he explained.
“With the squad they’ve got now, there’s no weakened team. He has eradicated complacency and they are super-efficient. When you are confident in what you’re doing, you know the opposition has to be at their best at every moment.
“The opposition has to play at their absolute maximum and it still might not be enough.”
That was evident last season, when RB Leipzig would have thought they had a chance after drawing 1-1 in the first leg of the round of 16, before they were pumped 7-0 in the second.
City’s ruthless streak means they’re very hard to beat, and if they play the way they did last season, it won’t be a surprise if they manage to win back-to-back Champions League trophies.