Man City target last 16 in UCL

Source: Reuters
Source: Reuters

Napoli head coach Maurizio Sarri has described Manchester City as the “best team in Europe” ahead of their UEFA Champions League clash on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola’s free-scoring side have won 13 games in a row in all competitions and are unbeaten in their past 21 outings.

They are also riding high at the top of Champions League Group F with three wins from three, and know victory against Napoli would see them qualify for the last 16.

Sarri’s Napoli have been similarly dominant in Italy this season, where they are unbeaten in 11 league games as they chase a first Serie A title since the days of Diego Maradona in 1990.

But Sarri remains realistic of the challenge ahead on Wednesday, saying: “Manchester City are the best team in Europe coached by the best coach in Europe. Guardiola has a brilliant football philosophy, but no team is unbeatable.”

City won 2-1 in the reverse fixture but Guardiola is wary of the threat posed by Napoli, who are third in the group behind City and Shakhtar Donetsk.

“We need one more win to qualify but we are going to the team that are leading Serie A and everybody knows the type of football they play in their own stadium so it’s going to be very difficult,” said the City boss.

“But it’s a great opportunity for us to book our place and we’re going to try our best to do it.”

Team news

City have no fresh injury concerns and are only without Benjamin Mendy (knee) and Vincent Kompany (calf).

Napoli are also almost at full strength, with only long-term absentee Arkadiusz Milik sidelined.

Opta stats

Champions League matches involving Napoli and Manchester City have seen one win apiece and one drawn fixture; City claiming a 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture on Matchday Three.

Manchester City have won their opening three games of a European tournament for the first time since 2008/09 (in the UEFA Cup), however this is the first time they have achieved it in the Champions League.

Manchester City have been involved in six competitive fixtures on the road against Italian opposition but have only recorded one win in that time (D2 L3); they lost away at Napoli during the 2011/12 group stage campaign.

Pep Guardiola’s men have claimed three wins from three games so far in the 2017/18 group stage; there have been 42 examples of sides managing this prior to this campaign since the current format was set up in 2003/04, all of them have progressed to the Last 16.

Napoli have lost four of their last five matches in the Champions League (W1), including in their most recent outing against Manchester City.

City have tasted defeat only once in their last 10 Champions League group stage matches (W6 D3); that loss coming at the Camp Nou against Barcelona in the 2016/17 campaign.

© Sky Sports


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