Belfast Telegraph

Winning all that matters to Manchester City, says Silva

By Carl Markham

Manchester City playmaker David Silva insists winning the Champions League is still not out of the question as the players will not accept defeat.

Roberto Mancini's side have to beat Bayern Munich, who have already qualified as Group A winners, on Wednesday and hope Napoli drop points at Villarreal.

It leaves City's maiden Champions League campaign on a knife-edge, but Silva is confident they can get through what has been a rollercoaster group stage to book their place in the last 16.

“We need to improve upon what we've achieved already and keep progressing as a team,” said the Spain international.

“Of course, we've got to do well in the Champions League and we should aim to win it. Why not? I don't think it’s out of the question.”

City's first foray into the Champions League got off to a bad start with a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Napoli and then a defeat in Munich that was memorable for being the origin of the now long-running Carlos Tevez saga.

They bounced back with home and away victories over Villarreal and appeared to be back on track only to lose in Naples to put their progression in jeopardy.

Although Bayern have dropped only two points in five matches Silva is confident Mancini's squad can beat the Germans.

Silva said their mentality had partly been forged by the FA Cup final victory last season, which ended a major trophy drought spanning four decades.

“It was a key season for us. We won our first trophy for 35 years and qualified for the Champions League, claiming a place among the best teams in Europe,” he said.

“We're up there with the elite now and this is enabling us to attract winners. These players know how to win, must win and accept nothing else.

“Winners don't believe in fate like others do. They simply cannot accept defeat.

“The Champions League is where we want to be and the level we have been aiming for.”

Silva has earned rave reviews for his performances in the Premier League for City this season — his second in England.

The 25-year-old believes he has found his feet amid the hurly-burly of England's top flight.

“It's now getting a bit easier for me,” added Silva, who left Valencia in the summer of 2010 to join the City revolution.

“When you experience playing in two different leagues, you learn to adapt; you pick up elements from the best virtues of each culture.

“You adapt to the speed of the Premier League and you combine that with your Spanish instincts, to spend time on the ball, what you've learned about reading the game.

“Football in England is much more direct than in Spain — not just in terms of tactics or style, but in the overall approach.

“Even when you're winning 2-0, the crowd are urging the team to get the ball up to score a third.”

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