Man City in Champions League: ‘Pep Guardiola’s team need their fans to make next step’
Some Manchester City fans might take their side progress for granted, but the statistics show it is a particular accomplishment in itself.
The attraction with Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday of city meant that they’ve made it from the set stage for a seventh consecutive year – a streak Barcelona, just Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris St-Germain may match.
Those are the sort of clubs that City are currently comparing themselves now, and they’re all measured by how they play in Europe, in addition to in their national leagues.
The fact City have made it through to the last 16 thus frequently is perhaps why some of their attendances in the competition have been unsatisfactory in the group stage, when as seeds they do not frequently find opposition.
A pretty flat atmosphere has been at Etihad Stadium against Shakhtar, which had a great deal to do with the hosts’ performance that is poor – but players want some help to get themselves going on nights like that.
They’ve cruised through their team so they have not required the kind of service that sees fans get involved and make the difference in matches.
Nevertheless, the City that is additional proceed in this season’s Champions League, the more aid they’ll need from the racks.
City boss Pep Guardiola is also right to request his side’s supporters to stop booing Uefa’s anthem because I believe they have made their stage, although I am sure the crowds will go up since they make progress through every round.
They also get tougher as their games in Europe become more significant – and the players will need every bit of drive and encouragement they can get.
The reason why they are booing, I know, and it is a protest against the treatment they believe that they and their club have experienced from European soccer’s governing body Uefa, because they do not wish to win against the contest.
I will not try to, and can’t talk for all of these but of course City fans wish to be winners of Europe. They make themselves obvious throughout the European matches.
The air in the Etihad for the next leg of the quarter-final defeat by Tottenham last season was electrical, and one of the best I have experienced anywhere as enthusiast or a player.
That’s exactly what I count myself. If you combine the club aged 14 – just like I did with City – and now you also go to create your senior debut and drama there for seven decades, you turn into a and so do your family – my youthful sons Ritz and Lazzar are lovers too.
It is excellent that the club is at such a strong position, whatever happens in the Premier League or even Champions League this season.
I understand why some City fans may need to see them win the Premier League over anything else. The national success they have seen, particularly over the last few seasons, was amazing and something that no English club has managed before.
Since it could see City grow even more than they’ve done in the last decade But a Champions League name could be so valuable.
It’s possible to see just how much they have come in a brief period of time by taking a look at their recent recording in Europe – as well as their remarkable runs into the 16, they are in company for being in the contest complete stop.
City are ever-presents for the past nine seasons, something just Benfica, Real, Bayern and Barca could match.
It is time to take another thing – and to do that they have to win it.
Winning the Premier League is a great accomplishment but to go and conquer everyone is something they have not achieved.
This was the remit when he took control of Guardiola and I believe will choose the club and its fanbase .
Only time will tell if the indifference some Town fans appear to possess towards the competition would be ended by winning the Champions League, but I’d really like to find out.
The crucial issue here is whether it can be won by City – and I definitely believe that they are prepared.
Of course there are strong contenders, but that is the reason why it’s so tough to acquire it and another reason why you have to give City charge for consistently reaching the latter phases.
Can they go all the way and achieve the final in Istanbul on 30?
I was asked that and my view hasn’t changed: Liverpool they will go near, even if they don’t lift the trophy.
Why City? I know they have had problems at the back in the very first few months of the season, but by now the Champions League resumes in February, Aymeric Laporte will be fit and back playing centre-back, and they’ll have had the chance to strengthen their squad in the January transfer window.
Liverpool are all holders, therefore while City have got something to prove, they have been there and done it in the amount. But Guardiola’s negative have been on the wrong end of a terrible fortune in Europe recently – they all might need is to go their own way.
Michael Brown spoke to Sport’s Chris Bevan.