Txiki Begiristain says City will treat Champions League last-16 opponents FC Copenhagen with the utmost respect, with the Director of Football stressing the reigning European champions need to ‘be careful’ against our Danish opponents.

Monday’s last-16 draw in Nyon, Switzerland paired City against Copenhagen with the first leg early next year to be played in Denmark ahead of the decider at the Etihad.

City are no strangers to Copenhagen. We played them in the group stages last season, securing a 5-0 win at the Etihad before then playing out a goalless draw at the Parken Stadium.

This time round, Copenhagen finished runners-up in a tough group that also featured Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Galatasary.


And Begiristain said Copenhagen’s impressive progress through to the knockout stages spoke volumes as to their collective quality.

“In the group phase they played against Bayern Munich, Galatasaray and Manchester United and they went through. The were the second-best team in the group so it means a lot,” said the City Director of Football.

“They have been better than Manchester United and Galatasaray, two clubs with a much more experience in the Champions League than them. So we have to be careful.

“We have to take it seriously and respect what they have done. They have something very good.

“We have already played Copenhagen (in the Champions League last season) so we go back to Copenhagen which is a wonderful place to visit.

“They played very well at home but what happened two years ago means nothing.”

City, of course, will step into the last-16 tie as defending European champions following our maiden Champions League triumph of last season over Internazionale.

Begiristain said the special memory of that magical night in Istanbul only intensified the Club’s hunger to succeed again in Europe.

But he warned that every one of our rivals – starting with Copenhagen – would prove formidable obstacles.

“We know what it takes now to win this Champions League and we want to do it again,” Begiristain added.

“We finished top of the group, and we have played well in Europe.

“Once we are in the knockout rounds, we have to understand why we are. The respect for all the contenders is huge.

“But, of course, all the opponents will be difficult and the first one we have to work on is Copenhagen.”

Exact dates for the two games will be confirmed in due course.