Kompany: City would take Europa League seriously

MANCHESTER CITY captain Vincent Kompany is confident Villarreal can offer his side a Champions League lifeline, but admits winning the Europa League now looks to be the most likely source of continental glory for the Premier League leaders this season.

Napoli, following their 2-1 win over City on Tuesday, will qualify for the knockout stages if they avoid defeat against Villarreal, regardless of whether City are able to defeat Bayern Munich at Etihad Stadium.

Kompany (inset) retains hope of Villarreal causing an upset, but the odds look stacked in favour of City finishing third in Group A and dropping into the Europa League, a competition the Belgium international insists his club will take seriously. He said: “It is by far the hardest group in the Champions League. It was never going to be easy and always a case of going to the last game.

“I wouldn’t say qualifying is a miracle because all Villarreal need is a draw and Villarreal is a difficult away game.

“We’ve got to focus on our game and try to beat Bayern Munich.

“But it doesn’t matter what happens, we will have a lot to say in the Champions League or Europa League until the end of the competition.”

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, meanwhile, believes Tuesday’s defeat demonstrated that City’s mega-rich owners will be unable to spend their way to Champions League glory.

“Our success proves two things: the first is that perhaps money isn’t everything, as even with the budgets in order you can still go far,” De Laurentiis said. “It also means that this Napoli side has a strong fibre and can give us great moments.”