Men's Team

Cancelo: This club deserves Champions League success

Joao Cancelo says winning the UEFA Champions League is not an obligation for Manchester City but feels the Club deserve to win Europe's elite knock-out prize.

Since Pep Guardiola took charge of City I the summer of 2016, City have dominated English football, winning three Premier League titles, an FA Cup and four Carabao Cups, setting a host of impressive records along the way. 

However, the Champions League has eluded us, with last season’s run to the final our best effort thus far.

Our bid to win this year's competition continues on Tuesday as we face Sporting CP in the first leg of the last 16.

Speaking ahead of that game in his home country, Cancelo says no team has a divine right to win this competition given the quality of opposition, but he feels we have a squad perfectly capable of going all the way.

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“We are a very strong team,” he said. “The players we have know how to deal with the pressure of getting to the Champions League final - but we are up against the best teams in Europe.

"We need to embrace the pressure. This club deserves to win the Champions League. It’s what this club works towards. And it’s what we are trying to do this season.

“Ever since I've been here, my teammates have won every [domestic] cup but not the Champions League yet.

"We are not obliged to win the Champions League but every year we go into it wanting to win it. It's prestigious - the best teams in Europe play in this - and we have the players to do it.

"It's a very difficult competition. We try to win every competition we are competing in.”

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Cancelo recently signed a new contract with City, which keeps him tied to the Club until the summer of 2027.

It was reward for a fine 18-month period that saw him establish himself as a regular in Guardiola's starting XI, with many experts believing he has redefined the role of an attacking full-back. 

However, Cancelo admits it took him some time to adapt to the demands of Pep Guardiola.

The 27-year-old joined City in the summer of 2019 and struggled to show his best form during his first year at the Club.

He accepts he initially had difficulties understanding Guardiola's style, but says he is delighted with the player he has developed into under Pep's guidance. 

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"Yeah, the complications with the coach were that I hadn't adapted to the way the team were playing," he said.

"I came from Juventus who had another way of playing, another big club.

"I wanted to show my quality.

"It was more my fault, not the coach. I had to adapt to the team’s style of play.

"With my desire to win, I am happy that I managed to become the player I am today."

Meanwhile, Cancelo opened up about his recent experience of being assaulted during a burglary at his home.  

He says it left his family feeling "terrorised," something he says they should never have had to deal with. 

“That’s life,” he said philosophically. “It happens in life.

"It was horrific. It terrorised my whole family. I know how to deal with it but my family didn't deserve to go through that.

"I lost my mother early in my life and I had to continue. I have had obstacles in life, and I had to get over them.

"I have been strong mentally and that’s how I want to get on.”

City host Sporting in the second leg of our last 16 tie on Wednesday 9 March. Don’t miss out on the chance to cheer Pep Guardiola’s men onto the quarter-finals. Get your tickets now

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