European glory a top priority for City but not Sevilla

SEVILLE • Premier League leaders Manchester City travel to Europa League holders Sevilla today intent on proving they will not be Champions League flops again this season.

Kevin de Bruyne's injury-time strike snatched a 2-1 win for City when the sides met a fortnight ago in Manchester to push Manuel Pellegrini's men onto six points.

They are second in Group D and a single point behind leaders Juventus. Spanish La Liga side Sevilla are third with three points.

Despite their riches, City have failed to make it beyond the last 16 in the Champions League, losing to Barcelona in each of the last two seasons after being beaten to first place in their group by Bayern Munich.

After a disastrous start to the campaign in a 2-1 defeat at home by Juventus, City have given themselves a chance of topping the group with back-to-back wins to close to within a point of the Italian champions.

Yaya Toure is aware that City must begin to make an impact in the Champions League if they are to be taken seriously by Europe's elite.

"When I came to this club, I came to lift trophies," he told the club's website. "We know that to be a big club, we must continue winning important trophies and making our imprint in Europe. If we do that, people will say Manchester City is one of the great clubs."

The visitors will again be without the injured Sergio Aguero while David Silva remains doubtful due to a sprained ankle suffered playing for Spain three weeks ago.

The Spanish playmaker sat out yesterday's open training session at the City Football Academy before the team left for the airport.

Raheem Sterling is expected to replace Nigerian wonderkid Kelechi Iheanacho after the English international was rested from the start of Saturday's 2-1 win over Norwich.

Meanwhile, captain Vincent Kompany has labelled Uefa's probe into City supporters' booing the Champions League anthem "a joke".

The jeering came before last month's home tie against Sevilla, who have injury problems of their own as top scorer Kevin Gameiro misses today's game due to a hamstring problem.

The Spanish side have won their last 10 European games at the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on their way to winning back-to-back Europa League titles.

However, coach Unai Emery was highly critical of his squad for losing their focus after their latest league defeat saw them slip eight points off the top four.

"Tuesday will be another test as to how we are improving in every game. We can get excited because we are in the Champions League but the league is where we have to achieve our priorities," he said.

"I think about our bread and butter and that is the league. We need to enjoy the Champions League but where we need to win is in Spain.

"We are not going to win the Champions League."



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2015, with the headline 'European glory a top priority for City but not Sevilla'. Print Edition | Subscribe