Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan said last season’s Champions League exit will not provide an extra source of motivation this year.
The Premier League leaders face Germany’s Borussia Monchengladbach in the first leg of their last-16 tie in Budapest, Hungary, on Wednesday.
City beat Real Madrid at the same stage last year, but then lost 3-1 to Lyon in a one-legged quarter-final in Lisbon.
“It is not something that is forgotten, to be honest,” said Gundogan.
“But it is not something that gives us any extra motivation. It is a new year, a new option, a new chance and a new challenge. We just try to do our best, as we did in the past.”
City are 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League, in the Carabao Cup final and the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
Manchester City have won 18 matches in a row in all competitions and manager Pep Guardiola wants them to continue what they have been doing.
“We’re going to play this like we’ve played the last games this season, in all competitions – nothing special,” said Guardiola.
“We’re going to try to win, to get a good result and then afterwards we are going to think about West Ham on Saturday.
“This is the only target. It’s the same process as I’ve said to the players for a long time – think of the next one and then, after that, the next one.”
This match will take place in Hungary because of coronavirus restrictions with Monchengladbach, eighth in the German Bundesliga and with only one win in five matches in all competitions, the designated ‘home’ team.
Manchester City have close to a fully-fit squad available with centre-back Nathan Ake their only notable absentee as the Dutchman continues to train alone after a muscular problem.
Record goalscorer Sergio Aguero is edging closer to a return after three matches as an unused substitute.
Guardiola has stressed the importance of rotating his squad so may return defender Kyle Walker, midfielder Phil Foden and forward Gabriel Jesus to the starting line-up after they were substitutes for Sunday’s 1-0 win at Arsenal in the Premier League.
City aim for the quarter-finals for a fourth year in a row – the stats
- Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City are facing each other for the seventh time – this is the most games for both teams against a single opponent in European competition.
- Manchester City are unbeaten against Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League (won three, drew one). However, their only previous encounter in the knockout stages of a European competition saw Gladbach beat City 4-2 on aggregate in the quarter-finals of the 1978-79 Uefa Cup.
- Manchester City have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the eighth consecutive season, the longest current run for an English club – they will be aiming to make it to the quarter-finals for the fourth straight campaign.
- It has been 43 years since Borussia Monchengladbach were in the knockout stages of the European Cup/Champions League. They lost 4-2 in the semi-finals of the 1977-78 European Cup against Liverpool.
- Manchester City have won each of their past three away games in the Champions League last 16 – 4-0 v Basel in February 2018, 3-2 v Schalke in February 2019 and 2-1 v Real Madrid in February 2020.
- Manchester City accrued 16 points in this season’s Champions League group stage; the joint-most of any English side in a single group stage, along with Arsenal in 2005-06 (finalists), Manchester United in 2007-08 (winners) and Tottenham Hotspur in 2017-18 (last 16).
Manchester City the best in Europe?
Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis at Nielsen’s Gracenote said: “Manchester City’s form over the last few months means they are now ranked the best team in Europe by the Euro Club Index.
Their rise is reflected in how much their chance of winning the Champions League has changed, improving from 15% to 28% since the second-round draw was made just over two months ago.
Manchester City have drawn the second-weakest team left in the competition with Borussia Mönchengladbach currently ranked 27th by the Euro Club Index, two places above Lazio. City’s chance of progressing to the quarter-finals is 89%.”