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Tonight’s match in Prague should be a comfortable outing for Manuel Pellegrini’s men. But he will know from his previous European exploits that success cannot be taken for granted.
Speaking to Sky Sports in the build-up to this evening’s game, the City boss has urged his players not to dwell on the past – and their less than impressive record in the Champions League to date. Instead they should be looking forward to a new era.
“I think we should forget that Manchester City didn’t qualify for the next round in the last two editions, and before that just managed to reach the Europa League,” he said.
“I think the most important aspect is to make the players feel that they have the capacity, and feel the confidence to compete against teams at the same level.”
It is that instilling of belief that could be Pellegrini’s most important job. City certainly have the players to compete at the very top, but do they have the mentality?
The senior side will hope to replicate the performance of City’s EDS side this evening, after they beat the same opposition 4-1 earlier today in the first match of their UEFA Youth League campaign.
The opening goal came courtesy of Sinan Bytyqi after just nine minutes, and Marcos Lopes doubled the Blues’ advantage just after the half-hour mark.
Plzen got themselves back into the game shortly after half-time, but a goal from Devante Cole and another strike from Lopes secured the win.
After the match, Patrick Vieira praised his side’s defensive efforts as much as their attacking flair.