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Media: City can win Europe's biggest prize

CLASS: City are contenders for the Champions League this season, according to various experts

CLASS: City are contenders for the Champions League this season, according to various experts

Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Basel on Tuesday has left the British press in no doubt we are contenders for this year’s Champions League.

Simon Curtis, writing for ESPN, believes City’s win in Basel, the latest example of our ability to dismantle sides, is a result that will unnerve Europe’s biggest clubs.

City won comfortably, scoring four times without reply and playing with a freedom and confidence that suggested we will be difficult to beat in the Champions League this term.

And Curtis says City have what it takes to reach this season’s showpiece final.

“City's dominance will have confirmed fears held in Madrid, Munich, Paris and Barcelona, that here is a team that could well reach the final in Kiev this May if they keep up this coruscating pace and precision,” he writes.

“We have become accustomed to seeing City's delicious brand of pass and move flatten domestic opposition in the Premier League, but now the reality is beginning to dawn on the continent that Pep Guardiola has a special team that few will be able to match.

“Basel had made all the right noises beforehand of wanting to be energetic in their tracking of City's main men and diligent in harrying space, but to carry this out, you first have to get close to your opponent. City, with Ilkay Gundogan lively if over-elaborate and Fernandinho shovelling up all the midfield loose balls, quickly had a platform to feed the tireless running of Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling.

“It has been a recurring theme throughout this blistering season of goal-strewn football. Having taken a season to get used to the Premier League sights and smells, Guardiola has put his thoughts into action and what project he is constructing at Manchester City.”

READ: Basel 0-4 City | Talking Points

PICTURES: Napoli to Basel | Kompany's Champions League career

The Sun’s Neil Ashton agrees, saying City, as well as Liverpool and Tottenham, have the quality and firepower to take on Europe’s elite.

“Jurgen Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola all play with a sense of adventure — sticking to their attacking principles and sending their sides out to win with style,” he writes.

“What a refreshing change to some of the mind-numbing tactical battles that Champions League ties often boil down to towards the end of the season.

“Even after Real Madrid’s dramatic 3-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain at the Bernabeu, it still felt like English football could match them over two legs.

“Real are clinging hold of the trophy as time starts to catch up with some of their world-class footballers.

MASTERFUL: Ilkay Gundogan guides City's fourth into the top corner.

Highlights

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Match highlights: FC Basel 0-4 City

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“They can still dig out a result, as they did with Cristiano Ronaldo’s inspired performance, but a third successive victory in the Champions League looks beyond them.

“The pedigree, the history, the allure of Real can only take them so far, and only intimidate rivals so many times.

“Tottenham, who drew 1-1 with Real in the Bernabeu in the group phase and then won 3-1 at Wembley, showed very little respect for those 12 European Cup wins.

“English football feels like it will soon be their equal.

“For all the hysteria surrounding Neymar, the names of Harry Kane, Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne are reverberating around European football.”

That’s all for this morning’s back-page roundup. Stay with us throughout the day as we build up to Monday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie away at Wigan.

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Kompany's Champions League career: Napoli to Basel

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Good morning and welcome to Thursday's media round-up, in which City fans can bask in the afterglow of Tuesday evening's success while casting an eye towards the next cup clash at Wigan.

And this being Media Watch, there's a dash of transfer speculation to throw into the mix, involving defenders at home and abroad.

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Talking points: Bernardo skills and Gundogan goals