Manchester City are brimming with optimism with coach Manuel Pellegrini “absolutely sure” of winning the Premier League title back this season and midfielder David Silva eyeing Champions League glory.
City, who conceded four goals in both their defeats against Real Madrid and Stuttgart in pre-season friendlies, finished eight points behind champions Chelsea in the Premier League last season.
“I am absolutely sure that we are going to have a very successful season. We must bring back the title here to our fans,” the 61-year-old was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“We are sure, as I have just said, that we are going to bring it back. We had a good pre-season.”
With the sale of Stefan Jovetic to Inter Milan and Edin Dzeko being strongly linked with a move to Roma, City is poised to start the season with only two frontline strikers in Sergio Aguero and Wilfried Bony.
“We have Kelechi (Iheanacho), that is a young player who I think must find a place here in our squad,” the Chilean manager added.
“(Raheem) Sterling can also play in front. I think we are going to bring in other players but not in that position.”
City, who won the Premier League title in a close finish in 2013-14, kick off their campaign with a trip to West Bromwich Albion on Monday night.
Spain international David Silva feels City have earned respect with their success in England in the past few years and with the recent additions to the squad the Manchester club can target European glory.
“We are just missing that step of winning the Champions League, but doing that will help us grow even more,” the 29-year-old midfielder, told the Daily Telegraph in an interview.
“I would see it as a failure (if I don’t win the Champions League at City). It is the one thing I want and one day I hope to win it.”
City crashed out in the last 16 stage of the Champions League in the past two seasons after being paired against Barcelona.
“It’s difficult playing against big teams like Barcelona, Bayern. But why? I cannot tell you,” added Silva, who has one World Cup and two European Championship winners’ medals with the national team.
“But with good, new players, for sure we will have an opportunity to be there fighting and maybe able to do it.”
Silva, who joined City in 2010 from Valencia, has set a personal target of scoring more goals this season.
“I want to be important in the team and win titles in all competitions,” he added. “It is always in my mind to become better and I can improve this year by scoring more goals.”
(Reporting by Shravanth V in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)