Captain Vincent Kompany has urged Manchester City to secure top spot in Group D after they stormed into the knockout stages of the Champions League with a superb 3-1 win at Sevilla.
City overwhelmed the Europa League holders in a devastating opening, where Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho put them 2-0 up inside 11 minutes.
Benoit Tremoulinas headed Sevilla briefly back into the contest, but a 36th-minute third from Wilfried Bony set up Manuel Pellegrini’s team to stylishly close out the points after half-time.
Juventus’ 1-1 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach leaves the Serie A champions as the only team in the group that can overhaul City, who would secure a seeded spot in the last 16 with victory in Turin on November 25.
Having finished as group runners-up to Bayern Munich during the past two seasons to be subsequently eliminated by Barcelona, Kompany fully appreciates the value of a first-placed finish to his team.
“The first feeling is ‘finally’,” he told BT Sport.
“It’s a difficult group and for us to be qualified with two games to go is an incredible achievement.
“It would be a first for us to finish first in a group and that’s important – we’ve been unlucky in the draws before so we need to make sure that we can reach the first spot now.”
Having regularly failed to replicate their domestic form on the European stage, City swarmed towards Sevilla from kick-off as Fernando’s inclusion in a holding role allowed Yaya Toure and the magnificent Fernandinho to persistently drive forward from midfield.
Spearheaded by a powerful centre-forward display from Bony, Kompany felt that amounted to a typically British style – an antidote to recent Premier League failures at Champions League level.
“I can take one thing from this game – the biggest thing is we were not naive,” he said. “We were solid and the gameplan was good.
“We always say we come up against European teams and we have to adapt our style but we played in a very British way.
“We had a big man up front, a lot of runners from midfield and we hurt them like this.
“Not all about English football is bad and we brought the best of that to defeat a very strong team.”