MANCHESTER CITY manager Roberto Mancini believes his squad’s wealth of European experience will allow the club to cope with a first ever Champions League campaign.
City are set to take their first steps in the prestigious competition tonight when they host fellow debutants Napoli at the Etihad Stadium.
But Mancini insists the likes of Yaya Toure, who lifted the European Cup at Barcelona, can help carry their blistering domestic form onto the Continent.
“I expect Napoli to be a challenge but a lot of our players have played in the Champions League and I don’t think they will feel pressure for this game,” said Mancini.
Full-back Gael Clichy, who featured in eight Champions League campaigns with Arsenal before his £7m summer move to City, is another who is accustomed to Europe’s top table. And the Frenchman believes that experience means City will approach the first match of a tough group, which also features Bayern Munich and Villarreal, without fear.
“I’m lucky enough to have been able to play in a few Champions League games but I am aware it’s a new competition for this club,” Clichy said. “We have to make sure that if there is something we can bring in terms of experience – and it may just be a little thing – that we bring it.
“Then maybe we can make the kind of statement in the Champions League we have been making since the start of the season. The confidence is there, and we go into this competition with no fear.”