herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

kompany: city off euro pace

Captain confident club can close gap on Europe's elite

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany accepts the club still remain a long way short of fulfilling their European dreams.

The gap between City and the continent's best clubs was starkly illustrated on Wednesday as Barcelona dumped the English champions out of the Champions League with a commanding performance at the Nou Camp.

Thanks to the brilliance of Joe Hart, City at least kept the scoreline respectable - losing 1-0 for a 3-1 aggregate defeat - but they were distinctly second best to a Barca side inspired by the magnificent Lionel Messi.

City may have made considerable progress in the seven years since their Abu Dhabi takeover, but the journey still has a long way to go.

Kompany said: "The reality is they were a better team, there is no shame in admitting that. For me there is a big, big difference.

"I will just mention Bayern Munich and Barcelona, and then there are the rest of the teams, with Real Madrid probably in between. Ultimately we have always said our goal is to become as good as them, but it will take some time. They are really good.

"Bayern Munich and Barcelona are not just Champions League-winning teams, they are World Cup-winning teams as well. They have generations that have played together a long time.

"Of course we want to make up the gap but you just have to be true to yourself. We have the ambition to be as good as they are one day, but it is not going to happen overnight."

City's exit meant that England will not have a representative in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the second time in three seasons. "The gap will eventually get closer," said Kompany.

"Whether it is Arsenal, Chelsea, (Manchester) United, the gap will become closer and I just hope it is us that gets there the first."

Despite progress always seeming unlikely, the defeat is another blow to City's morale after an indifferent spell in the Premier League.

battle

Having fallen six points behind Chelsea, who have a game in hand, it now seems unlikely City - who face West Brom at home in tomorrow's early kick-off - can retain their title and their season is in danger of fizzling out. They could even face a battle to hold onto second place as the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United gear up for a strong finish.

Kompany is determined to ensure that does not happen.

The 28-year-old said: "Forget about Chelsea. We owe it to ourselves, to our fans to have a good end to this campaign. Then again if we finish this campaign as good as we can, maybe there is still something in it. We will have to see.

"It is not in our hands by any means, but we just have to go back and work hard and improve."

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