Manchester City defender Gael Clichy is looking for his side to make it past the group stages in this year's Champions League - something they have failed to do in their previous two campaigns.

Ahead of their opening group game against Viktoria Plzen in the Czech Republic the French international was insistent that the Sky Blues wished to be regraded as one of Europe's best sides.

But with failed campaigns in 2011-12 - when they were third in their group to Napoli and Bayern Munich - and not recording a single win against Ajax, Real Madrid or Borussia Dortmund in 2012-13, this year's Champions League is vital.

And the former Arsenal man is aware of the task that faces them in this year's group which also included last year's winners Bayern Munich and Russian side CSKA Moscow.

“We have to go past the group stage this time around," he said.

"The Champions League is a big thing for the club and we can’t hide that the chairman wants this competition to be a success for the club so we are going to go for it.

"We want to be regarded as one of the best sides in Europe.”

Manchester City have a new man in charge for this year's competition with Manuel Pellegrini being brought in to replace Roberto Mancini.

The Chilean has been successful in the Champions League with a variety of clubs - he took an un-fancied Villareal side to the 2006 semi-final and Málaga to last year's quarter-finals in the club's first outing in the competition.

In the shape of Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo, Stevan Jovetic and Martin Demichelis they also have a range of new signings to call upon.

And 28-year-old Clichy is eager for as much time as possible in Europe's premier club competition.

“You play against the top sides in Europe, even more so when you go through the group stage," he said.

"Everything about the competition is great.

"You play at night, you play away from home in packed stadiums, the music before the games – everything is a souvenir that every one of us in the team was watching when we were 10 years old hoping that one day we would make it.”


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DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
#Gael Clichy
#Manchester City
#UEFA Champions League
#Football