Manuel Pellegrini is confident Manchester City can emulate his Malaga team by qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
City, who failed to progress from their group in back-to-back seasons under Pellegrini’s predecessor Roberto Mancini, have been drawn with defending champions Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen.
And the Chilean takes heart from his Malaga side’s prowess last season when, in their debut Champions League campaign, they went on to reach the quarter-finals, despite being put in a group with AC Milan and Zenit St Petersburg.
“They are all are difficult teams,” he said. “Maybe one [Bayern] has more history in the Champions League than the other clubs but I am sure that last year when Milan and Zenit knew Malaga were in their group, they were very happy but after the Champions League it was another thing.”
Pellegrini believes City’s fate rests in their own hands and added: “We have chances to go to the round of 16 if we play well, not because we have weaker teams [in our group].”
The former Real Madrid boss has been charged with improving City’s poor record in Europe’s premier club competition, starting with reaching the last 16.
“It is one of our targets,” he said. “We will try and hope we can do it and continue in the Champions League further than [in] the other years.”
Pellegrini also guided his Villarreal team to the semi-finals of the competition in 2006.