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"Some of them are now not playing in Europe" - Manchester City Director takes aim with cryptic comment

Harry Winters

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"Some of them are now not playing in Europe" - Manchester City Director takes aim with cryptic comment

Manchester City's Director of Football Txiki Begiristain appeared to take aim at some of the club's continental rivals.

The Premier League Champions reached the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League for a tenth successive season last month, and topped their group after a goalless draw with Borussia Dortmund on Matchday Five.

City are unbeaten so far in the competition this season and are once again bidding to lift a maiden Champions League.

The Blues have reached the semi-finals twice in the past two years, and suffered an agonising loss to Chelsea in the Final in 2021.

Pep Guardiola's side will begin the knockout stages against RB Leipzig in the round of 16, following Monday's draw in Nyon, Switzerland.

City faced the Bundesliga side last season in the Group Stages, winning at the Etihad Stadium and suffering defeat at the Red Bull Arena.

The Blues sailed into the next round with four wins and two draws, however some big names within European football failed to reach the knockout stages, something Director of Football Txiki Begiristain was quick to highlight following Monday's draw.

“Some big names and big clubs are already out - some of them are now not playing in Europe because they were last in the group,” said Begiristain.

“It shows how difficult it is in this competition. Everyone has to respect their opponent in this competition and that is what we try to do.

“Liverpool and Real Madrid are two unbelievable clubs, and they were two of the candidates to win, but one will be out.

“But still the ones who are there in the quarter-finals are going to deserve to be there. We want to be one of them.

European heavyweights Barcelona and Juventus both dropped into the UEFA Europa League after finishing third in their respective groups.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid, who had a fiery quarter-final tie against City last season, were dumped out of the competition after finishing last in Group B.

City's second-leg tie at the Wanda Metropolitano last season was dominated by controversy.

Nine cards were shown by the referee during the ill-tempered clash which was won by Manchester City 1-0 on aggregate.

Atletico Madrid and Manchester City (Image: Aflo Co. Ltd/Alamy)
Atletico Madrid and Manchester City (Image: Aflo Co. Ltd/Alamy)

Begiristain also spoke about City's ambitions for the campaign, as the pause for the FIFA World Cup looms.

“Expectations are always high. We have to try. We have been in a final, another semi-final and we want to be there.

“But we have to go step by step. We are happy with the team, with Pep and the staff. We are doing very well. Let’s see what happens now.

“The World Cup is coming and then let’s see how the players are when they are back.

“We want to enjoy holidays first! We are going to watch games at the World Cup, relax and then we will be back very strong.”

Featured Image Credit: Sportimage/Alamy

Topics: Manchester City, Champions League, Premier League, RB Leipzig

Harry Winters
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