LONDON: Patrick Vieira believes Manchester City can beat Bayern Munich and rescue their erratic Champions League campaign. But the former midfielder who is now development director believes City need more experience as a team to cope with elite Europe competition.
City’s fate tomorrow/Wednesday is not totally within their own hands. If Napoli beat Villarreal then the Italian club will follow Bayern into the second round and City will be left with the disappointing ‘consolation’ of the Europa League. The Bayern match will revive memories of the early-season controversy when Carlos Tevez’s refusal to come off the subs’ bench overshadowed City’s disappointing result and performance. Tevez remains in Argentina, awaiting a January transfer to Spain or Italy or even back to Brazil’s Corinthians.
Vieira said: “The Champions League is a more difficult competition than the Premier League because there are consistently better teams every time you play, meaning not only Bayern and Napoli but also Villarreal. We need more experience at that level but the bonus we get is that it can help us to win the Premier League. I still believe there is a chance of us going to the next round.”
City face Bayern with the confidence of a 5-1 thrashing of promoted Norwich on goals from Sergio Aguero, revived Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure, Mario Balotelli and the under-used Adam Johnson.
Manchester United will be without both Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov through injuries as they pursue the victory – or draw – against Basel in Switzerland which will fire them into the second round.
The irritation for United and manager Sir Alex Ferguson is that, even if they qualify, they are almost certain to finish second in the group since leaders Benfica should have few problems dismissing Otelul Galati.
Basel shocked United by hitting back for a draw at Old Trafford and United will not make the same mistake of underrating them. However they will miss the option of Hernandez’s pace on the counter-attack. He tore ankle ligaments after losing his footing early in the first half.