Manchester City marched into the quarter finals of this Champions League with a thumping 7-0 win over Schalke on Tuesday night, to complete a 10-2 aggregate win.
City manager Pep Guardiola has described his club to be like”teenagers” in Europe’s elite club competition due to this lack of pedigree at this level, but would this be the season that they come of age?
Pat Nevin, that was simply co-commentating on the Schalke game for BBC Radio 5 live, explains why he considers City have what it takes to really go all of the way into the final in Madrid on 1 June – however warns there are plenty of explanations for why things could fail… including Cristiano Ronaldo.
‘The Finest team, player for player and the best squad also’
Nevin:“In their best I would straight back City to beat anyone in Europe. The problem is that it really is a knockout competition now, plus they will need to maintain their best every time.
“If they’ve a poor halfhour from the Champions League, then is it – that they are gone.
“They will require some luck too, clearly, and a part of this is going to be receiving the perfect competitions in Friday’s quarterfinal draw.
“There are many factors involved that only a fool could say any club will certainly gain the Champions League – however if you asked me if City are sufficient to acquire it then, yes, I personally believe that they truly are.
“Player for player, they’re the best team left inside it if everybody is fit – and even if they do get harms then they have got the very best group too, the strangest of any one of those teams left from your competition.
Nevin:“that I would not call it failure if City don’t secure the Champions League, due to the calibre of those teams inside it, and because it relies on a certain number of luck.
“If they maintain the Premier League name, which I believe they’ll do because they’re the best team, while still scoring the number of aims they do, then it will soon be a brilliant season for them if they overlook again in Europe.
“But, given the conditions, and particularly if they receive a good draw, they should be planning to get to at least the semi-final and probably to reach the last.
“I believe they’ll soon be disappointed if they don’t really make it into Madrid, because they ought to function there.
“It isn’t a case of now or not, however, despite the threat of a possible European prohibit or move embargo that is hanging above their heads while Uefa and Fifa explore them.
“In the moment, both of the scenarios are’maybes’ and if you’re a player or the manager then you definitely cannot do anything about these.
“They only have to focus on what’s in front of these, also I cannot watch them doing anything otherwise just because there is some vague extra pressure somewhere that the upper echelons of this club are handling.
“I believe it is unlikely City is going to be prohibited from the Champions League next year.
“If they truly are prohibited from earning signings then I look at the group who played with Schalke and some of the youngsters coming through and think’no, this isn’t your final chance’.”
Who will stop them? IE]>
Nevin:“Nobody thought Chelsea could be champions of Europe in 2012, however they got the ideal lure and everything just fell in to place.
“What City should remember is that wasn’t the biggest Chelsea side – away from it but it really is lauded and recalled today as the team that won the Champions League because they got the opportunity, and they shot it.
“Therefore, City have to prepare yourself when that moment comes up, and take advantage of this too.
“With Ajax beating Real Madrid, Manchester United beating Paris-St Germain and Juventus under some pressure after losing the first leg in their last-16 link into Atletico Madrid, I thought this year’s draw was opening up for them.
“I was asked earlier City and Juve played this week whether I considered City appeared for the championship and that I said’yes, slightly’.
“Today I am not sure. If you move straight back to Pep’s opinions that City are teenagers in this particular contest, subsequently Juve are anything however. They really are the grown-ups and I would make them joint-favourites together with Pep’s side now.
“If you’re trying to get the Champions League then you’d rather they were out and, of the teams in Friday’s quarterfinal draw, they’re the ones who City will require to stay well away from.
“They’re therefore well organised at the rear which they might definitely frustrate them, and of course they’ve got a former Manchester United player in Cristiano Ronaldo who would quite like to beat City, I expect.”
Pat Nevin was talking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan