Man City's mood upbeat ahead of Bayern encounter
Updated: 2011-12-07 07:54
Manchester City's coach Roberto Mancini gestures during a news conference at the club's Carrington training complex in Manchester, northern England, Dec 6, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
Premier League leader looking to strike top form and beat Germans
MANCHESTER, England - Vincent Kompany insists Manchester City can still reach another level as it looks to keep its Champions League hopes alive against Bayern Munich.
Roberto Mancini's team is five points clear at the top of the Premier League after picking up 12 wins from its 14 matches.
But it has found its first Champions League campaign far harder and is now a strong favorite to drop into the Europa League.
City needs to beat Bayern Munich, which has already qualified, at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday and hope that Villarreal, which has no points from its five games, can at least draw with Napoli.
Mancini has admitted his team selections, particularly in the defeats at Bayern and Napoli, have occasionally been too offensive.
But it is that policy that has allowed it such an impressive start domestically, where it has scored a record-breaking 48 goals in its opening 14 league matches, as well as reaching the semifinals of the Carling Cup.
In the league, it has failed to score at least three goals on only three occasions this season.
It is that kind of form that, just over three years after Sheikh Mansour's takeover, has made City an overwhelming favorite to win the Premier League.
Yet it is the defensive statistics that have been troubling Mancini after seeing his team concede five goals in its three games against Bayern and Napoli.
But captain Kompany maintains there is far more to come from Mancini's side.
He said: "With us still learning to know each other better - and we are still a little bit behind on certain things - and learning a different style to what we played last year, there is still a lot to come from our team.
"The most important thing to stress is that we just stay calm. There is no reason to get carried away - it's a long season.
"This team is not just a load of great players. We are in this position because we have great spirit and a willingness to not be beaten, and that is important."
Mancini has attempted to calm expectations by maintaining City will only manage one or two more rounds if it makes it out of its group due to its collective inexperience in the Champions League.
But Spanish forward David Silva insists City can still go all the way and win it if it can scrape through to the knock-out phase.
The former Valencia man said: "We need to improve upon what we've achieved already and keep progressing as a team.
"Of course, we've got to do well in the Champions League and, well, we should aim to win it. Why not? I don't think that is out of the question."
At least Mancini has no injury concerns against a Bayern team that got its Bundesliga campaign back on track with a 4-1 win over Werder Bremen at the weekend, following two straight defeats.
Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller (L) talks with coach Jupp Heynckes during a training session at Manchester City's Etihad stadium in Manchester, northern England, Dec 6, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
Bayern is already through to the knockout phase and captain Philipp Lahm admits his team is desperate to still be top of the Bundeslga at the winter break.
The Germany international has acknowledged Bayern had been affected by its recent slump.
Lahm said: "For preference, we'd always be right at the top.
"When you've lost twice in a row, it chips away at your confidence, and you could see that at times against Werder Bremen."
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes may choose to rest players for the trip to the Etihad Stadium, with a game at Stuttgart to come on Sunday.
- Collective wage talks promoted
- China's Nov CPI up 4.2%, PPI up 2.7%
- China: No colonial designs on Africa
- Travel rush to start on Jan 8
- 40 years of Ping-Pong Diplomacy
- US turns to WTO on poultry spat with China
- China warns against cancer-fighting medication
- NATO missile defense to 'move forward': Clinton