LONDON • Pep Guardiola may have described his Manchester City side as Champions League "teenagers" in the build-up, but the 7-0 rout of Schalke in the second leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday is a clear indication of their growing maturity.
The resounding 10-2 aggregate win - the biggest achieved in the Champions League by an English club - puts the Citizens among the favourites when the last-eight draw is made tomorrow.
And, after recording their 61st goal in all competitions this year, the Spaniard declared his side's intention to "try for the second time in our history to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League".
He said: "We are delighted to be in the quarter-finals. The last 15 minutes and the second half we were incredibly good, quick and dynamic.
"I know Schalke are in a tough period but, even in that situation, you have to do your job.
"I'm not going to say we are not going to fight (for a maiden Champions League title). As a club, we are like a teenager team because the best success... is one semi-final and two quarter-finals.
"You can't compare us to Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Liverpool or Juventus. They have how many?
"But the teenagers have desire and are not scared. This competition is incredibly tough. We will see how far we can get. I've won two (Champions Leagues) but I've lost seven. All I can say is we will try and, next season, we will try again."
In their seven previous Champions League campaigns, City have reached the last four only once but, having won 18 of their past 19 matches in all competitions, the momentum could carry them to the June 1 final in Madrid.
Leroy Sane again scored against his former club as he became the first player to make three assists in a knockout game since Franck Ribery in March 2012.
A brace by Sergio Aguero and strikes by Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, and substitutes Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus further contributed to the heaviest loss suffered by a German team in the competition's history.
But Guardiola felt it was far from Sane's best display, insisting the 23-year-old "wasn't aggressive enough", before warning City's future opponents that the winger's potential had yet to be fulfilled as "he is young".
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN