Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain insists his club will not take Dynamo Kiev lightly in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Having been paired with and knocked out by Begiristain’s former club Barcelona at the same stage in each of the last two seasons, City’s progression as Group D winners this time around has granted them a comparatively more favourable draw.
And Begiristain was keen to offer a reminder that the Premier League team remain relative newcomers to elite European competition, despite the considerable resources at their disposal.
“It’s never easy, again in this round,” he told BT Sport.
“They have shown in the group stage against Chelsea that they have a good side and it is going to be difficult for us.
“We are growing and growing in this competition and we are going to fight.
“We have to be ready to try to improve in this competition.”
The first leg on February 24 will be played behind closed doors in the Ukrainian capital after UEFA punished the club for racist chanting and other rule breaches during the 0-0 draw against Chelsea in October.
City spurned a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 away to CSKA Moscow while playing behind closed doors during the group stages last season but Begiristain does not expect either team to be affected by the empty stands.
“I think they cannot have their supporters, this is what I know, but they are a strong side,” he said.
“On the pitch it is 11 against 11 and they can show the people that they are strong and are fighting for something.”
Begiristain added: “We are improving and getting experience in the competition. This is important to be one day close to reaching the final.”