Vincent Kompany believes Manchester City have proved they can compete in the UEFA Champions League this season, despite their last-16 elimination.
The Blues failed to progress past the group stages in either of the season’s they qualified for the competition under Roberto Mancini, but they were comfortable enough this time round to finish second to Bayern Munich. However, not many fancied their chances of getting much further when they were drawn against Barcelona.
And after losing the first leg at the Etihad Stadium, the Spanish giants completed the job on Wednesday night when they won 2-1 to record a 4-1 aggregate triumph. Kompany, though, has rued the fact that City were reduced to 10-men in both legs, with Martin Demichelis sent off last month and Aleksandar Kolarov dismissed at the Camp Nou.
And if both sides finished each match with equal numbers, the Belgian international believes there may have been a different outcome. Regardless, the Blues captain is proud of the way he and his team-mates have fared in the competition this term, and he believes it is only a matter of time before they go all the way and lift the giant pot.
“Over the course of two games, it’s funny I say this, but whenever there was 11 players each there wasn’t much between the two teams,” he told Sky Sports. “Obviously, Messi is an incredible player and whenever he has the ball danger can happen – but outside of that we had huge changes. If we score, we’re looking at a completely different game.
“Only the winners get remembered, but it’s only the third year ever for Manchester City in the Champions League. I’m looking at this and I don’t see why next year we should fear anyone. If anything it should give us confidence working on a few little things we can be that team. It is a matter of time every team gets its moment and our moment will come.”
City have already won the League Cup this season, but were knocked out of the FA Cup by Wigan Athletic last weekend. So after their defeat in Catalonia, there only chance of adding another trophy to their recently expanding honours list comes in the Premier League, where they currently trail Chelsea by nine points but have three games in hand.
The Blues continue their quest to regain the trophy they lost to rivals United last season on Saturday afternoon, when they travel to Hull City for the early kick-off. Pellegrini may have to prepare his side without the inclusion of star striker Sergio Aguero, who could face another spell on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury against Barca.