Apr 14, 2016

    City can win Champions League, says Pellegrini


    MANCHESTER City manager Manuel Pellegrini backed his players to go on and win the Champions League after they overcame Paris Saint-Germain to reach the semi-finals for the first time.

    Having procured two away goals in last week's 2-2 first-leg draw, City went into Tuesday's home leg in a position of strength. But it was not until Kevin de Bruyne struck in the 76th minute that their passage to the last four was secure.

    City join Real Madrid in the semi-final draw, with Barcelona and Bayern Munich on course to follow them after winning the first legs of their respective ties. Despite the might of the competition, Pellegrini believes that his side can go all the way.

    Asked if City could win the tournament, he told reporters at the Etihad Stadium: "Of course, because I think it is one of the targets of this club to achieve every year."

    Appointed in 2013, he will hand over to Pep Guardiola at the season's end and could find himself in the curious position of going up against his successor in the last four, provided Bayern can overcome Benfica (this morning, Singapore time).

    But the Chilean, who has already steered City to League Cup glory this season, said an encounter with Guardiola would be "exactly the same" as a meeting with any other adversary.

    PSG were already missing David Luiz and Blaise Matuidi through suspension and Marco Verratti through injury, and visiting coach Laurent Blanc sprang a major surprise by setting his team out in an untried 3-4-1-2 system.

    After losing Thiago Motta to an apparent hamstring injury, PSG threatened from set-pieces in the second half.

    But de Bruyne ended their hopes of victory when he curled home brilliantly from outside the box.

    Blanc said he took responsibility for PSG's fourth successive quarter-final exit and blamed his team's elimination on a lack of composure in front of goal over both legs.

    "Tonight, we're so disappointed. We really believed we could qualify.

    "You shouldn't say it's now or never. You never know."