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Manchester City director: Tottenham, Liverpool have much more difficult draw

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner sifts through the Champions League draw and determines who has the best path to the knockout stage and who may struggle.

Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain has admitted his side have been handed a more favourable Champions League draw than fellow Premier League clubs Tottenham and Liverpool but says City must respect their Group F opponents this term.

City, who were ousted by Liverpool in the quarterfinals last season, drew Hoffenheim, Shakhtar Donetsk and Lyon in Thursday's UCL group stage draw.

However, Begiristain acknowledged that Pep Guardiola's men were more fortunate than some of their Prem rivals. Tottenham will face Barcelona Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven in Group B, while Liverpool were drawn in Group C against PSG, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade. 

"Tottenham and Liverpool have had a much more difficult draw," Begiristain said.

"We have to respect Shakhtar, at home it wasn't easy then when we played them away of course it was the last game. We had some difficulties against them in the home game but we should be OK.

"Hoffenheim -- I've been speaking with some people from Bayern and they are a strong team with young players. A very good manager. They are trying to play football. There should be a few good football games."

City have been tipped as favourites to win the competition by some bookmakers but Begiristain cautioned that there are plenty of strong teams in the field.

He said: "No come on -- it's so difficult. We are coming off the back of an unbelievable season but still there are strong teams -- Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, PSG. They are very experienced in this competition.

"It's such a difficult thing to win. One mistake and you are out in the knockout stages."

Hoffenheim coach Julien Nagelsmann, for his part, said he's looking forward to facing the Premier League champions in the group.

"Manchester City are a massive challenge for us," said Nagelsmann. "But I was hoping we would draw a big team and we got one.

"Lyon always have good players and Shakhtar have several Brazilians who know how this game is meant to be played."

Shakhtar coach Paulo Fonseca said: "I think we should consider Manchester City the favourites for our group. They are the strongest team. Shakhtar, Lyon and Hoffenheim are more or less on the same level and can compete for the second place.

"We have to show our best football to stand up to such teams and go through to the round of 16."

Lyon coach Bruno Genesio added: "We always know after if it was a good draw but this group seems to have one favourite, Manchester City, and three close teams behind."

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