Manchester City’s Director of Football has warned the Blues that there will be no excuses if they fail to progress past the group stages of the Champions League draw.
Txiki Begiristain made the bold claims after City were drawn with reigning European champions Bayern Munich as well as CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen, who are current league champions in Russia and Czech Republic respectively.
Progression to the last 16 is hopeful as many see this as City’s easiest group draw since they entered the Champions League two seasons ago
“You can never make excuses – in football, never,” said Begiristain.
“We are big club, with big players and with a manager with big experience.”
New manager Manuel Pellegrini is far from inexperienced in the competition.
Last season he took first time participants Malaga to within touching distance of the semi-finals, only to concede two later goals away to eventual runners-up Borussia Dortmund.
This was no fluke.
In his first sojourn in Europe’s premier club competition, he took Villareal, from a town with a population of just over 50,000, to the semi-finals only to be beaten by Arsenal, who finished eventual runners-up too.
City fans showed their appreciation of the draw on social media.
@thecoachman1962 tweeted: “Take that draw for City. Best chance to progress in the last 3 years.”
“Very happy with our draw @MCFC pretty confident we can beat CSKA and Plzen both home and away!” remarked @KaneWoolfenden.
Despite the fans’ confidence, Begiristain isn’t taking any of these teams lightly.
“It won’t be easy but we have to fight,” he said.
“The champions Bayern are there. We have to be careful with all of them.”
City start their campaign against Viktoria Plzen in Czech Republic in their first game on Tuesday September 17, followed by Bayern Munich’s visit to the Etihad on Wednesday October 2.
Image courtesy of MCFCtv via YouTube, with thanks.