London: Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini backed his players to go on and win the Champions League after they overcame Paris Saint-Germain to reach the semi-finals for the first time.
Having procured two away goals in last week`s 2-2 first-leg draw, City went into Tuesday`s home leg in a position of strength, but it was not until Kevin De Bruyne struck in the 76th minute that their passage to the last four was secure.
City join Real Madrid in the semi-final draw, with Barcelona and Bayern Munich on course to follow them after winning the first legs of their respective ties, and despite the might of the competition, Pellegrini believes that his side can go all the way.
Asked if City could win the tournament, he told reporters at the Etihad Stadium: "Of course, because I think it is one of the targets of this club to achieve every year.
"We receive a lot of criticism for different reasons, but every year we are improving. I am sure the target of this club is to win the Champions League, but winning it will not mean the project is finished.
"They want to continue improving every season."
Appointed in 2013, Pellegrini will hand over to Pep Guardiola at the season`s end and could find himself in the curious position of going up against his successor in the last four, provided Bayern first overcome Benfica.Pellegrini will hand over to Pep Guardiola at the season`s end and could find himself in the curious position of going up against his successor in the last four, provided Bayern first overcome Benfica.
But the Chilean, who has already steered City to League Cup glory this season, said that an encounter with Guardiola would be "exactly the same" as a meeting with any other adversary.
When it was put to him that it might make for an interesting match-up, he replied: "Interesting for whom? The media?"
PSG were already missing David Luiz and Blaise Matuidi through suspension and Marco Verratti through injury, and visiting coach Laurent Blanc sprang a major surprise by setting his team out in an untried 3-4-1-2 system.