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Skipper sounds charge for UEFA glory

Richard Dunne 0809

Richard Dunne 0809

Richard Dunne is relishing his third slice of Danish - and the Blues skipper admits that the belief is growing in the dressing-room that the European odyssey could have everybody talking Turkey before the end of the campaign.

Craig Bellamy's super second-half double at the City of Manchester Stadium on Thursday night saw off tricky Copenhagen and lined up yet more UEFA Cup opponents from Denmark in Aalborg BK for the right to play in the quarter-finals.

Captain and defensive rock Dunne has watched some big names fall by the wayside as City stay solidly on course for a dream final in Istanbul on May 20 and says there will be no let-up in the intensity of the Blues' long-haul challenge.

It's been 12 games already since that July opener in the Faroe Islands, and Richard said: "The UEFA is a long competition but both the players and the fans are enjoying it. It's a great opportunity, our only one of winning a trophy this season.

"We have to believe in ourselves, that we can win it. We've been on runs in the FA Cup before and thought that it could be our year, then we've gone out. But if we can get past Aalborg, let's see where we can go from there.

"Some clubs seem to look on it as inconvenient and rest players, but for us it's an opportunity we want to take advantage of. It's exciting to play abroad, even if it seems to be Denmark most of the time! But we have to make sure the opportunity doesn't pass us by.

"We've played two teams from Denmark now and we're getting familiar with the style. Aalborg have dropped down from the Champions League and will have that bit more quality. But we believe that if we play well, we can beat them. Then if we get to the last eight, it gets really interesting."

It took 72 minutes for City to make the vital breakthrough on Thursday after the 2-2 first-leg draw in Copenhagen, and Dunne said: "We knew they would sit in and try to hit us on the break, that was always going to be their game plan.

"There's always the chance that they can get a late goal, as they did in the first leg, but the longer the game went on the more it was advantage to us, because we were ahead on away goals.

"The manager told us to wait and be patient, that they would have to come at us and then we would have the space to make our runs and get in behind them. Craig was outstanding, but then he's been brilliant ever since he arrived."

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