Captain Vincent Kompany claims Manchester City are hungry for success and determined to deliver in the Champions League.
City have begun the season emphatically by winning their opening five Premier League matches without conceding a goal. Now they want to carry that momentum into the Champions League, in which they have never previously progressed beyond the last 16.
They begin their latest challenge tonight with a testing visit from last season’s runners-up Juventus.
Kompany said: “There is nobody who left the Champions League satisfied last year.
“Okay, we came against the best team in the world in Barcelona, and I guess that made it a little bit easier to understand, but that is not what we want.
“We don’t want to go out to the strongest teams but to compete with them and at least beat them on a regular basis.
“Everything has been so bright and so good so far but, as people have been saying for the last three or four years, as long as we don’t perform and show our quality in the Champions League, as we have in the Premier League, there will always be something left behind that leaves us unsatisfied.
“It is a really important game for us. We have been looking forward to the start of the competition since the disappointing game in Barcelona. Tomorrow is a game everyone is going to be up for.” City’s optimism is tempered slightly by the loss of star striker Sergio Aguero. The Argentinian suffered a knee injury in a late challenge from Crystal Palace’s Scott Dann at the weekend and has not recovered. On the positive side, David Silva and Raheem Sterling are both fit after missing the trip to Palace with ankle and hamstring problems respectively.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini said: “Sergio also is not fit for tomorrow. He has a big kick in his knee. We will wait on him but it is difficult for him to be fit. We will see this afternoon how long it will be. I hope that for the weekend he can be 100%.” City will return to Premier League action against West Ham on Saturday and domestic matters were also raised as Kompany and Pellegrini met media ahead of the Juve game.
Chelsea’s early-season struggles have commanded headlines over the weekend but Kompany would not get drawn into writing them off.
He said: “It is irrelevant what they are doing. The biggest mistake that could be made is to think it will be a league between Chelsea and City. That is not the case at all. Other teams will come back during the season. The best thing is to focus just on ourselves.” For his part, Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon believes the trip to the Etihad provides the perfect opportunity for his side to kickstart their season.
Juve, Serie A winners for the past four years and last season’s Champions League runners-up, have made a poor start to the new campaign after a summer of upheaval.
The Turin side have lost a number of players since the end of last term - including the influential trio of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez - and brought in 10 new faces.
Results have so far reflected the disruption with two defeats and a draw from their opening three games.
But veteran goalkeeper Buffon said: “It irritates me if we are just going to be bemoaning our lot. In sport, in life, you have to be proud.
“We can’t be happy with what has happened so far but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, far from it.
“There is a huge amount of enthusiasm for this game. Manchester City are one of the potential winners of the competition, so it is a really good thing for us to start our Champions League games with such a tough test.
“Tomorrow we will set out to put in a good performance, to begin to give off the right signals to show we are a cohesive group, that we are a real team.”
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