Tuesday 19 March 2019

Niall Quinn on what Manchester City need to do to become Europe's greatest club team

Niall Quinn
Niall Quinn
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Niall Quinn believes Manchester City have a chance to claim a unique place in football history this season, as he predicts Pep Guardiola's side are about to be presented with a golden chance to win the club's first Champions League crown.

City's owners have made no secret of their desire to add European glory to their domestic dominance and Quinn has told Independent.ie that they need to deliver on the biggest stage of all to earn a place among the best teams of all-time.

"The true test of the project at City will be known at the end of this season because they will never have a better chance of winning the Champions League," Virgin Media Sport pundit Quinn told us.

"It will be a very tough ask for Liverpool to win the Premier League and Champions League, with the domestic title the one they would pick if they had a choice as they have waited so long to get their hands on that Premier League trophy.

"When I look around the rest of Europe, there is no outstanding team that City would be fearful of, but the Champions League is a tough competition to predict.

"I was listening to the experts last week predicting Manchester United would blow Paris Saint-Germain away on a night when they were lacking two of their best players, but they won with ease at Old Trafford so nothing is predictable.

"What we can say already is that this Manchester City team are one of the finest we have ever seen playing club football in Europe. I go right back as a young fella to being mesmerised by Ajax and their total football, with the Manchester United treble another wonderful team and the dominant Liverpool teams I played against in the late 1980s superb to behold.

"At this moment, I wouldn't put this City team ahead of the great Barcelona or Real Madrid teams we have seen in recent years until they win the Champions League for the first time, but if they were to win all four trophies, they would have a claim to being the best side of all-time.

"They are a breathtaking team to watch and I was lucky enough to be in the stadium for the Chelsea game last week. You come away from that thinking anything is possible and maybe they could win the quadruple, but I think the priority for Pep Guardiola and the club's owners will be the Champions League.

"We are a little over decade into the project being overseen by the investors at Manchester City and to take the club to the next level both commercially and in terms of their attempt for world domination of the game, they need to win the big European prize.

"Another Premier League title would be fantastic for Pep, but he was brought to City to try and deliver the Champions League and he needs to try and do that this season."

City's pursuit of a quadruple trophy haul will gather momentum this week as they look to secure the first leg of what would be a historic trophy drive in Sunday's Carabao Cup final, with Quinn suggesting the need to maintain focus will be crucial to their ambitions.

"It has been fascinating working with Graeme Souness on Virgin Media Sport and talking to him about what it was like when Liverpool were going for doubles and trebles during his time at the club," he added.

"He will tell you that anyone who mentioned trophies and what might happen at the end of the season was ostracised by the rest of the dressing room and you need that kind of single-minded focus when you are in a situation like City.

"In the next seven days, they have the Champions League game at Schalke, the Carabao Cup finals against Chelsea on Sunday and a Premier League match against West Ham next Wednesday. If they win all three, they would be in a wonderful position heading into the final two months of the season, but they cannot think that far ahead.

"We often hear players say take one game at a time and that is difficult when everyone is talking about how many trophies a team like City will win, but the players have to resist the temptation to think about making history and winning all four trophies."

Virgin Media Sport will host the UEFA Champions League matches on Wednesdays and the UEFA Europa League on Thursdays. Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League matches will also be Free to Air on Virgin Media One TV which will also broadcast the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League finals.

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