Shakhtar Donetsk coach Paulo Fonseca has admitted neither his side, Lyon or Hoffenheim, have much chance of winning Group F in this year’s Champions League ahead of Manchester City.
The Portuguese coach was asked after the draw about the group and was quite frank in his views.
“I think we should consider Manchester City the favourites for our group,” said Fonseca. “They are the strongest team. Shakhtar, Lyon and Hoffenheim are more or less on the same level and can compete for the second place.”
Fonseca’s side did actually beat Manchester City in last year’s group stage, but Pep Guardiola’s men had already won the group and didn’t take the game too seriously, giving Shakhtar an opening which they took to win and qualify for the Round of 16.
The Ukrainian giants have lost four star players – Manchester United’s Fred, West Ham’s Bernard, 30-goal Facundo Ferreyra and club legend Darijo Srna – this summer and have brought in several young Brazilians, as they are famed for, plus Nigerian striker Larry Kayode from Manchester City after his loan move was made permanent.
City are not only favourites to win Group F but have been installed as outright favourites to win the 2018/19 Champions League at bookmakers following tonight’s draw.
Progression to the knockout stage should be achieved but the Blues must be cautious and make sure they win the group rather than finish second, which gives them a better chance of an easier Round of 16 game.