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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Football

Pellegrini confident of taking City out of Champions League
AFP
Manchester, August 30, 2013
First Published: 18:23 IST(30/8/2013)
Last Updated: 18:26 IST(30/8/2013)

New manager Manuel Pellegrini is confident of taking Manchester City to the knock-out phase of the Champions League for the first time. City have failed to get out of the group phase in the past two seasons.

But they have been drawn with Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and Czech side Viktoria Plzen in this year's group phase.

Pellegrini took unfancied Malaga through to the knock-out phase last season and feels that means there is no possibility of complacency.

The City manager, whose side face Hull in the Premier League on Saturday, said: "I think that all are difficult groups.

"Maybe one (team) has more history in the Champions League than other clubs but I'm sure last year when Milan knew that Malaga were in their group they were happy.

"We have a difficult group, we have chances if we play well because we have weaker teams.

"(Getting to the knock-out phase) is one of our targets. We have a difficult group and we will try to continue further in the Champions League than in other years."

City have been heavily linked with a move for Atletico Madrid's Argentina defender Martin Demichelis and the prospect of Toby Alderweireld moving to the Spanish club should speed that up.

Pellegrini is confident of making an addition before Monday's transfer deadline and, despite many other managers complaining about the pressures of the transfer window, the Chilean is comfortable with the system.

He added: "We will see before next Monday what we can do. We have some days to bring someone and we will see.

"There are a lot of names linked with Manchester City and it's not my duty to answer all those names. We'll see on Monday what happens.

"I don't know if it will be busy. For the rest of the teams I don't know.

"I have no opinion about (the transfer window). Everyone knows the rules, and you have three months after the Premier League finishes. Ninety days is a lot of time.

"We tried to do it as soon as we could. We have just a few things that we can have three days more to do so this club I think was a normal period to do it."

City were beaten 3-2 at Cardiff last weekend, with Javi Garcia and Joleon Lescott forming a makeshift centre-half partnership due to injuries to Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic.

Kompany is confident of returning from a groin problem in time to face Stoke on September 14.

But Nastastic, who was an unused substitute in Wales, is set to make his first appearance of the season against Stoke, following an ankle injury, while Micah Richards remains on the sidelines.

Pellegrini added: "Nastasic is at the level to play from the beginning. I think that Javi didn't do badly.

"He normally plays as a midfielder but it's Nastasic's position so it's better for the team."

Pellegrini has introduced training sessions at the Etihad Stadium the day before home matches since taking over in the summer.

He said: "I did it the other game we played at home (the 4-0 win over Newcastle). It's better for the team to work one day here at the stadium."


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