Football

Modest Mancini ready for Europe

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Joe Hart admits he is relishing the prospect of making his debut in the UEFA Champions League when Manchester City host fellow newcomers Napoli to Europe's top-tier competition at the Etihad Stadium tomorrow night.

The Serie A side will provide a tough test for the Citizens, who are rated as fourth favourites to lift the trophy at the first time of asking.

"When the Champions League music starts on Wednesday, I'll be humming along," admitted Hart ahead of Wednesday night's encounter. "As a club, players and fans, we're looking forward to it.

"It's really exciting and we can't wait. It's a big thing to be there. It's something we've been striving to do. You can't get any better than winning in Europe."

Despite their short early season odds, City boss Roberto Mancini insists he is only targeting progression to the knockout stages, but has backed his players to cope with the demands of the step up in class.


 

"It's our first time in the competition. We want to do the best we can do but it will be very hard as it's a strange competition," he said. "In this group there are four teams that can win the group or arrive in fourth position. It will be very hard for every team.

"For us it's important to do well in this group and our target is to go into the second stage. That's all we are looking at for the moment."

Looking ahead to the immediate challenge that Napoli will pose his side, who have made an unbeaten start to the season with maximum points from their opening four Barclays Premier League fixtures, the manager insists he is aware of the threat the Italian's will provide.

"Napoli are a good team," he continued. "They did very well last year and this game will be very hard for us.

"I like Edinson Cavani. He is a fantastic striker who works for the team. But they also have Ezequiel Lavezzi, Goran Pandev and Marek Hamsik – and those players are very dangerous."

Topics:
Joe Hart
Football
Manchester City
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
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