Sarri picks City for Champions League title

Napoli coach believes Guardiola's men are on a par with Barca and Real Madrid

Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri believes that Manchester City are at the same level as Barcelona and Real Madrid and can go on to win this season's Champions League.

City beat Napoli 2-1 with a display of attacking football at the Etihad Stadium yesterday morning (Singapore time), but had to ride out the storm after the Italian side, who have a perfect record after eight games in Serie A - battled back in the second half.

Asked after the game if he felt City were now on a level with the Spanish giants and were capable of winning the tournament, Sarri said: "Yes, I think so.

"They are an extraordinary squad. They have tremendous physical, technical and tactical qualities and if they can maintain their physical shape they could go all the way," he added.

Pep Guardiola's City are unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions, 14 of them wins, since the 2-1 loss to Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus in the opening 13 minutes looked to have opened the door to another City rout, but Napoli regrouped.

Dries Mertens had a 38th-minute penalty saved by City goalkeeper Ederson, but the Italian side pulled one back from the spot through Amadou Diawara in the 73rd minute. Despite the loss, Sarri was pleased with their response.

"You have to divide the game into first 25 mins and then the rest of the game. They deserve a lot of credit for how they started the game - their technique, speed, movement were outstanding - but also, we didn't apply enough pressure," he said.

Meanwhile, Guardiola paid tribute to Napoli after the game.

"This is one of the best sides I've faced in my career, probably the best," said Guardiola, who had led Barcelona to two Champions League titles.

"It is one of the wins I am most proud of in my career. Today we won against an incredible team. To do that you have to do an incredible performance." - WIRE SERVICES


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