Eliaquim Mangala believes Manchester City can challenge Europe’s best after powering into the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners.
City finished the first stage in style as they came from behind with two Raheem Sterling goals to crush Borussia Monchengladbach 4-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
The victory took them above Juventus to the top of Group D and means they will avoid the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in the first knockout round.
Defender Mangala said: “We finished top of the table. We will see what happens after the draw but we have to improve in this competition. We have to work towards that.
“But if you start a game like we did in the second half we can beat a lot of teams. It depends on what we have to do but if we start to work like we did in the second half we can do something good.”
City dominated the second half but trailed for most of it after Monchengladbach replied to David Silva’s early strike with goals from Julian Korb and Raffael before the break.
Pressure finally paid off as Sterling, on his 21st birthday, struck twice in quick succession in the 79th and 81st minutes to turn the game around. Substitute Wilfried Bony added a fourth five minutes from time.
Even before scoring, £49million man Sterling had caught the eye and Mangala believes there is plenty more to come from him.
He said: “I am happy for him. It was his birthday. He scored two goals and he worked very well. He is a young player and needs time but he has scored important goals for us. He is someone that wants to learn and he is going to improve.”