Champions League: Victory over Viktoria Plzen gives Manchester City confidence, says Manuel Pellegrini
Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero were all on target in the Czech Republic
Wednesday 18 September 2013
Manchester City got their latest Champions League challenge off to a winning start with a convincing 3-0 win over Czech minnows Viktoria Plzen.
Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and the outstanding Sergio Aguero all struck in the space of 10 minutes early in the second half as City overpowered their first Group D opponents at the Doosan Arena.
City were not at their most fluid before the break but still went close as Aguero struck the post and Dzeko and Jesus Navas brought good saves out of Matus Kozacik.
The win means City, bidding to reach the knockout stages for the first time after two successive failures, have already equalled their points tally from last season's dismal campaign.
It also lifts confidence after a mixed start in the Barclays Premier League and ahead of next Sunday's derby against rivals Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini said: "I think it is very important to start the Champions League winning away.
"It was not an easy match, against a very good team. Winning 3-0, of course we are very happy.
"It will give confidence for all the players.
"We have the derby next Sunday and always winning away in the Champions League, scoring three goals, having at least three or four more chances to score and a clean sheet - I think it will give all the players a lot of confidence for the next games."
Dzeko, who was denied at point-blank range by Kozacik in the first half, opened the scoring after being set up by Aguero in the 48th minute.
Toure doubled the lead with a superb strike from distance and Aguero added the third after a smart turn and shot from the edge of the area.
Dzeko said: "Our quality was better in the second half, but Plzen also played some good stuff in the first half.
"We had chances and didn't score, but then the goals came.
"The manager told us to keep playing our football and be organised, to concentrate and be aggressive, and that the goals would come. They came."
City, unconvincing in their most recent games, also looked better for the return of captain Vincent Kompany at the back after a three-game absence with a groin injury.
Right-back Pablo Zabaleta said: "It was a good performance by the team.
"We played well, especially in the second half when we came up with some good football.
"Having Vincent back was good. He is the captain and leader of the team, and it's always good to have him in the team."
Pellegrini is also hopeful playmaker David Silva will be fit to return for the derby after two games out with a thigh injury.
The Spaniard will be assessed later this week, as will defender Gael Clichy, who has been out with hamstring trouble.
Pellegrini said: "Maybe they could arrive for the derby. We will see during the week. I think Clichy is more difficult but we will still try."
Latest in Sport
James Rodriguez to Real Madrid: Would Colombian star fit in with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale?
William Carvalho to Arsenal? Gunners make new enquiry for £35m rated midfielder
Manchester United transfer news: More signings expected, indicates Ed Woodward
Chelsea transfer news: Completed summer deals - including Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas
Liverpool transfer news: Loic Remy, Dejan Lovren and Divock Origi on verge of Anfield moves
- 1 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Man takes most pointless Uber cab ride of all time
- 5 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains