Paul Scholes: Manchester City were so good against Liverpool I felt like turning the television off

But they have never got close in the Champions League and this is the year that they have to make the step

Watching Manchester City on Monday night, the scale of the club’s ambitions was clear for anyone to see. They do not just want to be champions of England; this is a squad built to win the Champions League, too.

Read more: Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn't working
United turn focus from Vidal to Carvalho

I hardly need to say that I am a Manchester United man to my bones. As a kid I was at Oldham Athletic before joining United but I can safely say that I am one of those Manchester footballers who has never had any affiliation to City: not a trial, not a training session, nothing. I am a United man and, as a result, there were moments watching City on Monday night when they were so good I felt like turning the telly off. But I can acknowledge a very good team when I see one.

City were sensational at times against Liverpool. All good sides have a mixture of qualities and City have the guile of Samir Nasri and David Silva combined with the pace and power of Yaya Touré. Alongside Touré is Fernando, a variation on Fernandinho, whom I also like. Stevan Jovetic was my tip in this column to be the breakthrough player of the season and he has started well.

Perhaps the most daunting aspect of it all was when Jovetic scored his second and the camera panned over to the bench. The substitutes in shot were Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Jesus Navas – it reminded me what an incredible squad Manuel Pellegrini has at his disposal. There are 22 proper, top-class footballers at that club, and they can compete with the very best in Europe.

Video: Pellegrini reacts to 3-1 Liverpool win

People ask which great teams this current City side remind me of. I think they are different from what we have seen in the past. When the likes of Nasri and Silva keep the ball they are capable of playing the possession game, as Barcelona did at their best. The best United teams that I played in were different. We were more about passing the ball forward and getting players in attacking positions. City have that capability, too.

Read more: Is Van Gaal the man to dig United out?
Van Gaal 'not shocked' by defeat
Is Van Gaal beginning to sound like Moyes?

So far, they have never got close in the Champions League and this is the year that they have to make the step. They have to show that they can win the league and in Europe, too. To strengthen, they have bought another centre-half, Eliaquim Mangala, which they desperately needed, and Fernando.

Over the three years that City have been in the Champions League, it has struck me that the home crowd at the Etihad Stadium could have done more to get behind their team. It feels to me that some of the City supporters are still getting used to the level of footballers they are watching and the quality of the opposition coming to their ground. Cesc Fabregas Chelsea will challenge City for the Premier League title

I guess much of that is down to the places that City fans have had to watch their team play in the last 20 years. When you’ve followed your team to clubs like Lincoln City, Walsall and Macclesfield Town, for league fixtures, it is perhaps only natural that when Barcelona or Real Madrid or Bayern Munich are in town, you watch open-mouthed. But it won’t help their side.

What City need to do is turn the Etihad into a hostile environment for away teams. At its best, Old Trafford on a midweek European night gave United’s players a real advantage. It is the same at Anfield. The City fans need to get to terms with the fact that they are now part of the elite and create an atmosphere that makes it difficult for away teams.

Read more: Kagawa and Hernandez could be used to get Vidal
Di Maria never wanted to leave Real Madrid
How the internet reacted to MK Dons humiliation

Of course City can win the league. I tipped Chelsea at the start of the season and I am sticking to that prediction although I think it will be close. City can win the Champions League, too. The money from Abu Dhabi is obviously what has driven them from mediocrity to the position they are in, but it doesn’t buy a ready-made team. I admire their manager, Pellegrini. The club is obviously run well from the top.

I would be fascinated to know what Pellegrini does behind the scenes. He is not like Roberto Mancini who spent most of his time on the touchline shouting at anyone within earshot. He stands back and watches and, like the rest of us, admires the good football. He does not get involved in much controversy away from the pitch. Ctiy's one weakness is Martin Demichelis in defence - though they have brought in Eliaqium Mangala

If there is a weakness in City then perhaps it is in defence, although Martin Demichelis has improved a lot since he first arrived. You do wonder how they would fare if Vincent Kompany picked up another injury because they rely so much on him, and we haven’t seen anything of Mangala yet. Even so, you only had to see how Jovetic has developed into a powerful, strong striker to recognise that this is a club that has so many different top-quality options.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game