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Sep 18, 2013

Pellegrini: UCL title not a priority

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini reiterated that his new side will not prioritise Champions League success this season, after they got their European campaign off to a flying start with a 3-0 win against Viktoria Plzen in the Czech Republic.

Joy for Manchester City after Edin Dzeko scored their first goal at Plzen.
City cruised in what was a valuable away win.

• Mooney: Failures forgotten

Successive group stage exits from the Champions League were believed to be crucial in costing Roberto Mancini his job as City manager last May, yet his replacement stressed he is not under pressure to deliver European success in his first campaign at the club.

"There is no priority in the Champions League at this club," Pellegrini told Sky Sports, after goals from Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero gave his side a comfortable away day victory. "We know Manchester City didn't do very well in this competition last season, but we are just as focused on the Premier League.

"It is important to get the first win in the group of the Champions League, to keep another clean sheet. It is all important. In the first half, we had chances to score, but I felt in the second half we played really well. We created space, but when they have ten men behind the ball it's hard to score.

"We know that the Champions League is a very difficult competition and there are no easy games. The players know that and will try to do the best in every match."

The match was notable for the return of City skipper Vincent Kompany from injury, with Pellegrini suggesting he came through the match without complication ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with neighbours Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.

Meanwhile, goalscorer Edin Dzeko hailed City's win as "the perfect start" and admitted the bad memories of the recent Champions League failures are still fresh in the mind.

"The last two years we didn't do that in the first game and now we did," he said. "Especially coming away from home, we know it's always difficult to play away in the Champions League because every team is very strong and Plzen showed in the first half how they can play football.

"I think we have a very good squad with some new players who have brought a lot of quality to our team and of course there are a lot of games until the end of the season. Everyone will get a chance to play."

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