Football

SCHOLES: Big-spending City need to win Champs League

EX-DEVIL’S TIP: Paul Scholes believes that Liverpool are dark horses for this season’s Champions League. ST FILE PHOTO

Paul Scholes believes Manchester City have "little excuse" not to go far in this season's Champions League.

Manuel Pellegrini took the Citizens to the last-16 stage of the competition in 2013-14 - the club's best-ever performance in Europe's premier tournament.

But Scholes expects an even better showing this time around after Pellegrini further strengthened his squad over the summer.

"Champions League will be their main focus for the season. Their owners will want to see them push on in the Champions League," he told ITV.

"They have a tough group this year but, with the players they have, they need to go on to win it, and there's really little excuse not to do well."

City midfielder James Milner echoes that sentiment too, saying that City are now capable of making a big impression in the Champions League.

Having reached the knock-out stage for the first time last season, after two previous failures, they are aiming higher.

Milner told uefa.com: "I think year on year we should get better and we will keep improving the more experience we have as a group in the Champions League.

"It is a lot of games that we have played now, a lot that we have learnt over the years that we have been in it.

"So I think having won the Premier League a couple of times, and been fortunate enough to win every trophy domestically, we now want to prove ourselves on the European stage.

"And I believe we have a good enough team to do that."

The EPL champions begin their latest challenge in Europe's elite competition as they face German giants and five-time champions Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

City were drawn in the same group as the German side in both 2011-12 and last season and they won on their last trip to Bavaria - when Milner scored the winner in a memorable 3-2 success - last December.

But, if City are to extend their supremacy to the continent, they must watch out for Liverpool, says Scholes.

The former Manchester United midfielder expects the Reds, who ended a five-year absence in the Champions League by qualifying last season, to do well upon their return.

REDS COULD UPSET

And he thinks the "hostile" atmosphere at Anfield could prove to be an advantage over City in Europe.

"Liverpool are the dark horses of the competition this year," he added. "Brendan Rodgers has done a fantastic job. The style of play he's adopted is exciting to watch and the players seem to have taken to him.

"I feel they will do well with the players they have. The big advantage they have is a home crowd. Anfield is always a hostile place to go, which is something Manchester City lack."

City also face CSKA Moscow and Roma in Group E. - PA Sport.