Yaya Toure has said Manchester City “still need to learn” in Europe after failing to qualify from their Champions League group for two successive seasons.
The 2011-12 Premier League champions took only three points from last season’s group, failing to win any of their games against Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax.
With new manager Manuel Pellegrini at the helm, the City hierarchy are hoping for much better in Europe this year -- and Toure said he was hoping for a kinder draw to help them on their way.
“We want to survive the group stage, and everything else will be bonus games,” the 30-year-old midfielder told German football magazine kicker. “Everyone wants to be better, as we have the team for it. I hope the draw is better than in the past.”
Asked who he believed were the favourites to win the Champions League, being defended by Bayern Munich this year, he said Bayern, their final opponents Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona and Real Madrid would be the major threats.
“Manchester United has a strong team. Us too, but we still need to learn in Europe,” he added. “But it is our third participation. I hope everything works out and we can get as far as possible.”
The Ivory Coast international believes Bayern face a tough task to become the first team ever to win back-to-back Champions Leagues, but said: “They could make it with their new coach Pep Guardiola. It is always difficult to play against Barcelona, but Guardiola is very smart.”
Toure said City’s big goal for the season would be reclaiming the title, and also targeted the FA Cup. “We are aware how difficult it is to be fit in every game,” he said. “We need to stay injury-free. That was our problem last season when players like [Vincent] Kompany, [David] Silva and [Sergio] Aguero were sidelined for a longer period.
“I have always stressed that I want to be part of the history of this club. I have won quite a lot, but I want to win as much as possible. Manchester City is a great club with super supporters, with great people working there. Everyone wants the club to develop -- that is fantastic for me.”