Zabaleta: Manchester City can end European pain

The Argentine defender believes that a slightly less stressful group than previous years should allow them to flourish and finally make an impact in the Champions League
Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta believes that the club will improve on their poor Champions League showing last season.

The Premier League side failed to win a game in Europe last season, picking up just three points as they finished bottom of a tough group that featured Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax.

The Argentina international says that City have learned from their experiences in the competition, though, and expects them to put on a better showing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

"I think it is another chance for this club, for this team, to do better in the Champions League," Zabaleta told the press ahead of Tuesday's clash with Viktoria Plzen.

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"From what happened the last two years in the Champions League, I think we learned and hopefully we will do better."

City's first involvement in the Champions League was in the 2011-12 campaign, when they finished third in another difficult group that contained Napoli, Bayern Munich and Villarreal. This season, they again meet Bayern but, with Plzen and CSKA Moscow also in Group D, Zabaleta believes that they have a better chance of progression.

"It is not an easy group - I am not saying this - but maybe if you compare this group with the last two years, it is a bit better," he argued.

"We believe in this team and I think we have got a great chance to qualify for the next round.

"It is important to win [in Plzen], to try to get three points. To start winning is important because then we have got Bayern Munich at home."

Pellegrini will take charge of his first European game as City manager at the Doosan Arena after enjoying Champions League success with Villarreal and Malaga and the full-back expects him to have a positive impact.

"He is a manager with good experience in the Champions League," he continued.

"He did well with Villarreal, and also with Malaga. Now it is a different experience for him, with a new team. Hopefully we can do well."