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Rediff.com  » Sports » Manchester City now on par with Barcelona and Real, says Napoli coach

Manchester City now on par with Barcelona and Real, says Napoli coach

October 18, 2017 10:28 IST

'They are an extraordinary squad. They have tremendous physical, technical and tactical qualities and if they can maintain their physical shape they could go all the way.'

IMAGE: Gabriel Jesus scores the second goal for Manchester City past Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri says he believes that Manchester City are now at the same level as Barcelona and Real Madrid and can go on to win the UEFA Champions League this season.

 

City delivered a blistering 20 minutes of attacking football to take a two-goal lead over Napoli at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday but had to ride out the storm after the Italians -- who have yet to drop a point in Serie A -- battled back in the second half, holding on to win 2-1.

Asked after the game if he felt City are now on a level with the Spanish giants and are capable of winning the tournament, Sarri said: "Yes, I think so.

"They are an extraordinary squad. They have tremendous physical, technical and tactical qualities and if they can maintain their physical shape they could go all the way," he added.

City top Group F with the maximum nine points from three games and are also top of the English Premier League with seven wins from eight.

Raheem Sterling

IMAGE: Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring the first goal for Manchester City. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Guardiola's side are now unbeatean in 18 games in all competitions, 14 of them wins, since the 2-1 loss to Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus in the opening 13 minutes looked to have opened the door to another City rout but Napoli regrouped and Sarri said he is pleased with their response.

"You have to divide the game into first 25 mins and then the rest of the game. They deserve a lot of credit for how they started the game -- their technique, speed, movement were outstanding -- but also, we didn’t apply enough pressure," he said.

"But credit to the team for coming out of that situation against a team that is destroying everything that is put in front of it.

"I'm a bit bitter with the result but we have shown we can be competitive at this level as well," he said.