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Manchester City are contenders for Champions League glory

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They've won everything there is to win in England in the last four seasons, now Manchester City must set their sights firmly on European glory, and that means winning the Champions League.

Two Premier League titles in three seasons show they're a very good team, but lifting the Champions League is the one thing that could propel them to "great team" status.

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In their first two seasons among Europe's elite City failed to make it past the group stage, but last season produced an improved performance - they made it through to the round of 16 before being humbled by Barcelona.

This year Manuel Pellegrini and co will be desperate to go even further and make it all the way to the final in Berlin.

Hunger

In the build up to campaign's opener against Bayern Munich, several City players have spoken of the club's intentions to improve their Champions League performances.

James Milner told The Guardian: "I think being the club that we are, and with the players we have, winning it is the ultimate aim."

While, speaking to the Manchester Evening News, summer signing Eliaquim Mangala said: "We all know this competition is important for us and we want to do better than last year. We’ve not won it before so it’s one of our big targets for the season."

Hunger alone may not be enough to get your hands on the famous trophy, but Chelsea's infamous 2012 success proved that it can drag you over the finishing line when everything is seemingly going against you.

Big game players

If City are to be crowned Champions of Europe they'll need their star players to perform to their best when it really matters.

The likes of Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero will be absolutely key if, or rather when, City are faced with one of Europe's top teams in the latter stages of the competition.

As good as Fernando and Fernandinho may be, teams know that if they can limit the impact Toure has on the game they have a far better chance of beating the Premier League champions.

Though he may only be available for the group stages, Frank Lampard could also prove to be key to success. The Chelsea idol knows what it takes to win the competition and his experience can only benefit his new teammates.

Experience

The only other man in City's star-studded squad to have won the tournament is Toure, while experienced defender Martin Demichelis was a beaten finalist with Bayern Munich.

Despite a lack of Champions League winners in the dressing room, City's squad have been together throughout their three forays into europe's premier competition and that will be of benefit to them this year.

The likes of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and James Milner are slowly racking up a healthy number of Champions League appearances and that will stand them in good stead as they look to go all the way.

Attacking talent

For all the value of experience, it means nothing without genuine match winners, and City have those in abundance.

In Samir Nasri and David Silva, City have two players capable of playing passes the majority of footballers can't even see, and that ability will prove crucial when it comes to breaking down world class defences.

Ahead of them Aguero's goalscoring record since his 2011 switch from Atletico Madrid is nothing short of exceptional. Given a chance, the likelihood is he will find the back of the net.

Should City make it through to the latter stages of the competition chances could be few and far between, having a man who only needs one to find the back of net is invaluable.

Winners

So although Pellegrini's side find themselves in a tough group alongside Bayern, Roma and CSKA Moscow, they should be hopeful of an improvement on last season's efforts.

Progressing from such a group will be no easy task, but City are now ready to show they can mix it with the very best in Europe.

They made need the odd slice of good fortune along the way, but if everything goes to plan this could be the year the Champions League trophy makes it's maiden appearance in the blue half of Manchester.

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Topics:
Vincent Kompany
Sergio Aguero
Football
Gnegneri Toure Yaya
Manchester City
Frank Lampard

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