Mens Team

Begiristain praise for City's European progress

Begiristain praise for City's European progress
Txiki Begiristain has hailed our serene progress into the last-16 of the Champions League.

City took 16 points from a possible 18 in Group C – equalling the record for an English side – and were confirmed as group winners before the final game.

We also conceded just one goal, keeping an impressive five clean sheets.

With some of Europe’s biggest names struggling to qualify for the knock-out phase – and some dropping into the Europa League – Begiristain feels City’s qualification is worthy of praise in a competition that is becoming increasingly demanding.

“You know how difficult it is to get there and you can see other clubs who are here in this draw, they suffered to get there,” said the City director of football.

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“They had to wait until the last day or the last minutes. So, we were there qualified at the top of the group before the last game. That is an achievement.

“Now, of course, we want to progress and be one of the biggest in Europe. We want to go through.

“It’s becoming very difficult this competition. You can see the group phase, new clubs coming, everyone getting stronger and it’s getting more difficult to be there (in the knock-out phase).”

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City will face Borussia Monchengladbach in the last-16, confirmed at Monday’s draw ceremony in Nyon.

Begiristain says he’s under no illusion how tough that tie will be, citing our games against them in recent seasons as examples of their quality. 

And he is confident that their style of play means it will be an open, entertaining affair, with both teams set to play on the front foot.

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“The top teams in Germany play that box-to-box game, they are attacking football, quite open games – so we like open games.

“We have to be better than them in both boxes – you have to be good at defending and attacking.

“But I like to play against German clubs because the football we can give to the spectators and people in their homes is going to be great.”

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"You have to highlight the coach at the head of it, Marco Rose. He is one of the top coaches and is loved by a lot of clubs in Europe. He is playing good football.

“Marcus Thuram, Denis Zakaria now is back, Ramy Bensebaini, Yann Sommer the goalkeeper – they have a good squad.

“I have to remind everyone I remember when we play away in the second game of group phase under Manuel Pellegrini when in the first half they had five one v ones against Joe Hart – Joe Hart was incredible that game – and then we won in the last minutes with the penalty of Kun [Aguero].

“And then also in the first season of Pep it was 1-1- and we suffered a lot.

“But we are talking about three, four years ago. If I talk about what I watch recently of Borussia Monchengladbach, I want to remind everyone what happened in Monchengladbach when they play against Real Madrid.

"They were 2-0 up, Madrid with zero points after two games, and Madrid scored two goals late on.

“So a very strong team, wonderful football and it’s going to be really difficult.”

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