Viktoria Plzeň v Man City: Pellegrini wants Citizens to forget past failures
Viktoria Plzeň v Man City: Manuel Pellegrini wants the Citizens to forget about their past failures on Tuesday night
Manuel Pellegrini has urged Manchester City to forget about their recent Champions League failures ahead of their group opener against Viktoria Plzen.
The Citizens, who finished second in the Premier League last term, failed to get past the group stage under former manager Roberto Mancini in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 European campaigns.
Last season, Pellegrini, who was appointed as Mancini’s successor in June, led Malaga to the Champions League quarter-finals before suffering a dramatic 3-2 aggregate defeat by eventual finalists Borussia Dortmund.
And the Chilean wants his Citizens players to adopt a confident approach to their European campaign.
“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.
“It has been three years now that this club hasn’t done well in Europe.
“I think that if we want to qualify, we have to respect Plzen, CSKA Moscow and Bayern Munich the same way, and will try to put in our best performance to beat them.”
He added: “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.
“But I have always repeated the same sentence to my players: If we are eliminated in the Champions League, then that is because we faced a team that was superior to us and who played better than us, and not because they faced a bad playing team.
“I think that has helped the players a bit, to let them feel that they have their qualities as well.”
Viktoria Plzeň v Man City: Match facts
• Plzeň enjoyed a strong campaign in the Uefa Europa League last season, winning a group that included holders Atletico Madrid and then defeating Napoli before a 2-1 aggregate loss to Fenerbahçe in the round of 16. Prior to their 1-0 home reverse against Fenerbahçe they had posted seven straight home wins in Europe.
• City, by contrast, are looking to improve on a poor away record in the Uefa Champions League. They took no points on their travels in last term’s group stage, while in 2011/12 they recorded one victory – at Villarreal – and two defeats.
• City have started both their previous campaigns on the back foot, taking just one point in total from their first two fixtures in 2011/12 and 2012/13.
• The Czech club’s only previous group stage campaign came in 2011/12 when they finished third in a group containing Barcelona, AC Milan and BATE Borisov. At home, they lost to Barcelona but held Milan and BATE.