City Ready To Roar…Face Bayern Tonight In Champions League Fixture

james-milner-manchester-cityJAMES MILNER believes Manchester City now have the squad and the necessary experience to complete the final part of the ‘Abu Dhabi project’ by winning the Champions League.

City launch their fourth season in the competition tonight with a trip to Bayern Munich with Milner believing they have absorbed some valuable lessons from two exits at the group stages and one from the round of 16 last season.

And after winning all the domestic trophies in the last four seasons, Milner says City are determined to add Europe’s top prize to their collection of honours and fulfil the vision and ambition of Abu Dhabi oil billionaire Sheikh Mansour when he bought the club six years ago.

He said: “Being the club that we are, and with the players that we have, winning it is the ultimate aim.

“When I first started here it was new to us as a club, new to us as a team. Individual players had played in it before, but it’s completely different when you’re playing in it as a group.

“Year on year we should get better and we’ll keep on improving with the more experience we have as a group in the Champions League.

“We’ve played a lot of games in the competition now, we’ve learned a lot over the years and having won the Premier League a couple of times now, and been fortunate enough to win every trophy domestically, we now want to prove ourselves on the European stage – and I believe we have a good enough team to do that.

“If you look at the players we’ve brought in again, we’ve made some top-quality signings, there’s competition all over the field.

“If there are injuries or suspensions, which you’re bound to get during a season, I don’t think you’re really going to weaken the side whatever team the manager picks because there’s so much quality.”

Twenty games in the competition over the last three years have resulted in eight wins, four draws and eight defeats and, according to England international Milner, given City the platform to reach the latter stages for the first time.

But for the fourth year running City have been drawn in a tough group, despite being promoted under UEFA’s complicated co-efficient ranking system to second seed status this season.

This will be the third time in four years they will play five-times winners Bayern while they also have to face Russian champions CSKA Moscow for the second successive season plus Serie A runners-up Roma.

“We can’t get ahead of ourselves,” added Milner. “The first aim is to get out of the group and build from there.

City were given a lesson by Bayern in their opening group game at the Etihad Stadium a year ago but put the record straight by winning in Germany in the final fixture, when they stormed back from 2-0 down with Milner netting the winner.

One more goal that night and City would have gone through as group winners and avoided Barcelona, who beat them over two legs in the last 16.

“Obviously, winning the group helps for the next phase,” said Milner. “We encountered a tough knockout stage last season, from not quite getting that extra goal in Munich, which would have got us over the line and won us the group, so that’s something to learn from as well.

“We beat Bayern at their place last year and we should take a lot of confidence from that and go into the game with no fear, knowing we’ve been there before and got three points.”

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