Manuel Pellegrini expects Champions League progress

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Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini believes that the time has come for his side to prove they belong in the Champions League, by making the competition's knockout stages for the first time this season.

City failed to make it out of the group stages in Europe's elite competition for two successive seasons under Roberto Mancini, with sides like Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and Real Madrid all proving too strong.

A lack of progress in Europe helped seal Mancini's fate towards the end of the last season, but Pellegrini thinks that his vast squad possesses enough strength in depth to make an impact on the continent this time round.

He told The Sun: "It is time to progress. This club needs to be out of the first stages. We have a better squad than that.

"We have a better squad than that."

City face another tough draw when the Champions League is divided into eight groups of four later today, after being placed in the third pot of seeds by Uefa.

Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and AC Milan are all potential opponents for Pellegrini's men, while Napoli and Real Sociedad could help form a group of death in the fourth pot.

Pellegrini does bring past success in the Champions League to the Etihad, after previously reaching the semi-finals and quarter-finals with Villareal and Malaga respectively.

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