Maurizio Sarri tips Manchester City to win Champions League, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Maurizio Sarri tips Manchester City to win Champions League

But Crouch believes their defensive issues will cost them

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri believes Manchester City are Champions League favourites because they will prioritise Europe over the English Premier League this season.

Both Juventus and City made it through to the last 16 as group winners.

Said the former Chelsea and Napoli boss: "I spontaneously think of Manchester City as my favourite.

"The impression I have got of this team has convinced me, and they will probably focus more on the Champions League than on the Premier League this season."

City midfielder Ilkay Guendogan seemed to confirm Sarri's "impression" just before Pep Guardiola's team ended their Group C campaign with a 4-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb at Stadion Maksimir yesterday morning (Singapore time).

He told BT Sport: " It's so far a difficult season for us. There's already a huge gap in the Premier League between Liverpool and us.

"We can't deny that the title race is already over for us, so we have to compete to qualify for the Champions League again next season...

"That's disappointing, to be honest. Also, this early in the season to have such a huge gap is something that we're not really used to."

Former Liverpool and England striker Peter Crouch disagreed with Sarri's assessment, pointing to City's defence.

The long-term injury suffered by Aymeric Laporte has affected City's backline, with Guardiola often resorting to playing midfielders Fernandinho or Rodri in defence.

Crouch said on BT Sport: "Man City always seem to come up short. They are a fantastic side but they have got too many defensive problems.

"I think the big teams will pick them off."

Crouch and his fellow BT Sport pundits Glenn Hoddle and Rio Ferdinand all plumped for Liverpool as Champions League favourites.

While the Reds are reigning European champions and sit 14 points clear of City at the top of the EPL, Rodri believes that his team should not focus too much on Liverpool.


He told "On an individual basis, I can say that Liverpool are the best team I have faced...

"I don't know if the goal is to beat Liverpool, who are European champions, as I think you always have to focus on yourself.

"If we focus on Liverpool too much, we are wrong. We would be better (off) looking at ourselves and play... game by game.

"You can't stop competing and that's what Guardiola instils in us every day, that every game is a final."

The next "final" for City will come against Arsenal on Monday morning.

Gabriel Jesus, who scored a hat-trick against Dinamo, is determined to keep that scoring run going against the Gunners and beyond.

Phil Foden scored City's other goal while Dani Olmo surprisingly opened the scoring for the home side.

Jesus had endured an eight-game goalless drought, but has now scored five goals in his last three games.

The Brazilian, who is deputising for the injured Sergio Aguero, said: "Honestly, last month I was no good and I wasn't happy. I played eight or nine games and I didn't score and I missed chances. So I'm not happy with that...

"When I'm not happy with me, I want to shoot myself in the head because it's difficult for me.

"When I have the chance, sometimes I miss because I think too much and put too much pressure on myself...

"Now the goals are coming, so I'm so happy. But I cannot stop - I have to keep scoring."