Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has admitted that although he is delighted his side are competing in the Champions League, they have been drawn in a tough pool.
The Citizens will face Napoli, Bayern Munich and Villarreal over the next coming months, and the Italian knows that any of the four teams could qualify.
“I think it is an exciting day for the club. To play in the Champions League after many years is very important, it is a special day,” he stated in a press conference.
“But I think we took the harder route in the Champions League. In this group there are four teams who can win the group or finish in fourth position. It will be very hard for every team.”
There will be high expectations over City’s European campaign, as the investment in the squad over the last number of years has accounted for a star-studded squad, however Mancini is taking it one game at a time – with Napoli the visitors on Wednesday.
“I think this is normal for us. Now Manchester City are one of the best teams in England and Europe. For us it will be very important to do our job very well in this group.
“Napoli are a good team, last year they did very well in the Italian championship. Several of their players have been capped for their national teams and (Walter) Mazzarri is a very experienced manager.
“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,” he continued.
Despite being drawn in a challenging group, Mancini has eyed progression through to the knock-out stages.
“Our target for now is to get to the second stage. It is important we start well in the group. We want to do the best we can do but it will be very hard because the Champions League is a strange competition.
“We want to go to the second stage. After that we can talk in February,” he concluded.