Sport Soccer

Saturday 24 February 2018

City can go all the way to Champions League final, says Nolito

Nolito, right, hopes to reach the Champions League final with Manchester City
Nolito, right, hopes to reach the Champions League final with Manchester City

Nolito believes Manchester City are good enough to reach the Champions League final.

City booked their place in the knockout rounds for a fourth successive year in midweek.

Spain international Nolito, who joined the club from Celta Vigo in the summer, said: "Last season the team reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, so to improve on that would mean to reach the final. I think Manchester City have the capacity to do better than last season.

"Both the Premier League and Champions League are very difficult competitions where any mistake can be crucial. We go little by little but we will see what happens."

Manager Pep Guardiola has been more circumspect when setting targets and even raised eyebrows earlier in the week by suggesting it could take 10 years for City to be considered genuine Champions League challengers.

But, speaking at his latest press conference, he said: "I said 10 years like I could say five or eight, because I am not a magician to know exactly how many years they need.

"The first step was to be four times in a row in the knockout round. After that, achieve semi-finals or finals.

"We will improve and maybe we will achieve, but these next steps will help for next year. Knowing we are able to arrive four times in a row - we have to do that again."

However, in terms of trophies, Guardiola claims there are no clearly defined goals.

"My target is to play better than the day before," said Guardiola, whose side face Burnley on Saturday. "We have to go game by game, step by step.

"Maybe we don't win the Premier League, but make a huge step in our vision, and to see our future will be clear. Or maybe we will win the Premier League, but play not good and it is complicated to see our future.

"It (the target) is to see that the team can be better and better every month."

City go into the latest round of Premier League fixtures third in the table, just a point off the top but one of five sides separated by only four points.

Forward Nolito said: "I've never experienced a level of competition like this one. That is why I think that the team who finally gets to win the Premier League deserves a lot of credit. It is a very tough competition.

"We need to go step by step. This is a very important time of season for us. December will be a very tough month, but that's how it is.

"We need to keep working and respect all of our opponents. Knowing that there will be difficult games and that we will have to do well in any way."

Press Association

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