UEFA Champions League: It would be better to be first, says Pellegrini

Coach confident as City face uphill task to end Bayern’s record run


Afp December 09, 2013
BETTER FORTUNE: United are unbeaten in the Champions League this season and have secured a place in the knockout rounds, while a win against Shakhtar would see them top Group A. PHOTO: AFP

MUNICH: Coach Manuel Pellegrini admits Manchester City face an uphill task to break Bayern Munich’s record winning streak in the Champions League in Tuesday’s battle for top spot in Group D.

Bayern are on record runs in both the Bundesliga and Champions League and their 3-1 win at CSKA Moscow a fortnight ago was their tenth straight victory in Europe, breaking Barcelona’s previous record.

Both City and Bayern sides are through to the knock-out stages and all that remains to be settled is who will finish top of the group.

The defending champions have won all five of their group games so far, including a dominant 3-1 win last October at City, who are three points behind the German side.

Pellegrini’s side would need to better that result at the Allianz Arena to knock Pep Guardiola’s Munich from top spot.

“We have qualified for the next round and this is very good,” said Pellegrini.

“It would be better to be first in the group, but we have already played against a very strong Bayern Munich team. But we will try to do a very good match and we will try to win.”

Beleaguered United eye European silver lining

Manchester United will once again look to the Champions League for distraction from their domestic woes when they host Shakhtar Donetsk in their concluding group-phase game on Tuesday.

United are unbeaten in the Champions League this season and secured a place in the knockout rounds with a superb 5-0 victory away to Bayer Leverkusen in their last outing.

They can secure top spot in Group A, and with it an advantageous draw for the last 16, if they avoid defeat against Shakhtar, and Moyes has called on his players to finish the job.

“It’s important we give ourselves every chance of progressing even further in the Champions League by finishing top,” he said. “It won’t make it easier, but it will give us a little bit of an advantage by having the second game at home [in the last 16].”

Ronaldo targets new goal record in Copenhagen

Cristiano Ronaldo can set a new record for goals scored in a Champions League group stage when already-qualified Real Madrid visit FC Copenhagen on Tuesday.

The Portuguese has found the net eight times in just four European appearances this season, and insists his primary focus is on delivering trophies for Madrid before making his way to the World Cup in Brazil.

“I am focused on my club. I want to win everything and then we’ll see about the World Cup," he said. “We have to enjoy the present, right now we are playing well in the Champions League, La Liga and now the Copa del Rey.

“I hope Madrid can win something important. My aim is to stay focused on my club and give my best.”

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