We are on a path to glory, says Pel­le­grini

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - TOTAL FOOTBALL - By Pete Oliver at the Eti­had Sta­dium

Manuel Pel­le­grini has al­ready made his­tory with Manch­ester City by get­ting them be­yond the Cham­pi­ons League round of 16 for the first time and he could do it again with just over a month to go un­til he ends a three-year reign as man­ager.

De­liv­er­ing a first Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle to add to a Premier League ti­tle and two League Cups

he has won would be some legacy. How­ever, the 62-year-old in­sists it is not his place in the record books that mat­ters, only that City have con­tin­ued along a jour­ney he is con­vinced will make them Euro­pean cham­pi­ons.

“I never think about me,” Pel­le­grini said. “I hope we win it this year. If not, we’ve made im­por­tant steps to do­ing it in the next sea­sons. I also think that if we win the Cham­pi­ons League this year, it’s not the fin­ish of the project here.

“Ev­ery year we must be in­volved in both com­pe­ti­tions and I hope that this is the tar­get for the club. It would be very im­por­tant to do it this year, but you can­not think that it is all done.”

City’s run, which has brought four wins in five games, as well as their ad­vance­ment to a Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nal with Real Madrid, has come too late to mount a charge for the league ti­tle. But for long-serv­ing de­fender Pablo Za­baleta, th­ese are still heady days.

“I never thought we would be talk­ing about the semi-fi­nals of the Cham­pi­ons League when I first came, but it was amaz­ing how I saw the club change – the way we have im­proved as a club and a team and worked so hard for so many years as a group of play­ers, try­ing to make the club big­ger and bet­ter ev­ery sea­son,” he said.

Za­baleta played his part in City’s lat­est win with the cross that led to Kelechi Iheana­cho, 19, scor­ing the first of his two goals to put them 3-0 up af­ter half-time. Fer­nando had ear­lier headed City in front and Ser­gio Agüero added his 23rd Premier League goal of the sea­son from the penalty spot be­fore Iheana­cho took his tally for the sea­son to 11.

Stoke man­ager Mark Hughes, who signed Za­baleta in 2008 at the start of his 18 months as City man­ager, said: “It’s good that they’re fly­ing the flag for the Premier League. It’s the strong­est league but we need to show that the top teams have sim­i­lar qual­i­ties to those that the Barcelonas and the Real Madrids have.”

To­mor­row, City will have their chance.

Spot on: Ser­gio Agüero scored from a penalty

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.