Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes the Europa League is now "a great competition."
City face a crucial week in their quest for silverware, as Mancini leads the team out to Ukraine ahead of their meeting with Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of the last 16.
Dynamo stepped down from the Champions League after losing to Ajax in the play-offs and Mancini said: "The Europa League is a great competition. There are big teams in it. You can get to the quarter-finals and meet an important team."
He added: "There are a lot of well-known sides in the competition. All the teams we can play usually play in the Champions League. It is a little Champions League. All the teams are big ones."
Spanish forward David Silva is only too aware of the difficulty facing City at the Valeriy Lobanovskiy Stadium.
He played and scored there in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup but Valencia went out on the away goals rule.
Silva recalled: "It's a difficult place to go to. We got a 1-1 draw so we didn't do too badly.
"They're a difficult team and at their stadium it's very tough but we're excited about our chances of going through."
On Sunday City have a home tie against npower Championship side Reading with a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup at stake and anticipation is beginning to rise among City fans, who last saw their team secure a major trophy in 1976 when the League Cup was lifted.
Mancini said: "We will try to reach the final if it is possible, both in the Europa League and the FA Cup. It depends on our players recovering their strength."
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