Men's Team

Dunne: City primed for 'real business' of Champions League

Richard Dunne believes City will be primed to kick on when what he terms the ‘real business’ of the Champions League gets underway with next February’s knockout stages.

Despite Tuesday’s disappointing 2-1 loss away at RB Leipzig in our final Group A fixture, Pep Guardiola’s side finished in top spot, sealing our qualification for the last 16 with a game to spare.

City, of course, came agonisingly close to Champions League glory last season before being edged out 1-0 in the final by Chelsea.

But after impressing in a tough group stage which also featured Paris Saint-Germain and Club Brugge, Dunne – a guest on Tuesday’s latest Matchday Live show – says City will be a side many want to avoid in next Monday’s last-16 draw.

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And Dunne also believes the experience of coming so close last season will only further fuel the players’ desire to lift Europe’s ultimate prize.

“Any of the sides that qualify when you get to the knockout stages are tough, but City will still be amongst the favourites regardless of the Leipzig result,” the former City skipper declared.

“You look at City, Liverpool and Chelsea as being amongst the strongest in Europe, Bayern are in it as well.

“With the group stages out of the way, now the real business gets going in the Champions League.

“City have the experience of last year of getting to the final and of getting through the difficult rounds.

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“Now there is an opportunity to try and go one step further this year.

“Of course, we know that there are no easy ties in the Champions League

“The likes of Inter will be difficult, going back to Spain will be difficult.

“There are no easy ties in the Champions League, the manager will be happy to go away and get the job done.

“But I think we are in a better place because of losing last year.

“It was a big step to get past the semi-final and the hurt of getting that far and not winning it (will inspire them).

“That experience will haunt them and they won’t want to repeat it.”

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