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Manchester City won their Champions League group for the first time ever after beating Borussia Monchengladbach 4-2 on Tuesday.
City were behind 2-1 after the first half, but managed to turn things around and grabbed the win to top Group D. David Silva had given City the lead in the 16th minute before goals by Julian Korb and Raffael switched the lead and the momentum over to the Germans.
City came out strong in the second half and two goals by Raheem Sterling and one by Wilfried Bony secured the three points. City manager Manuel Pellegrini was delighted with the performance by Sterling in the second half.
“It was his birthday – I told him before the game that the minimum he had to do today was score two goals,” Pellegrini told mcfc.co.uk after the win.
“I’m not joking – I told him that.
“I think it’s important for him to score those goals tonight.”
Pellegrini also said that he believes that his side can compete against the big clubs in the knockout stages if they play like they did in the second half.
“If we play the way we did in the second half we can play against any team,” Pellegrini said. “It’s the way we normally work – it’s the way I like us to play.
“It seems like it’s faster but it’s slower.
“For me, the most important thing tonight, above finishing top of the group, is that we returned to being the team we normally are.
“We improved a lot in the second half – we arranged it and once we were losing 2-1, we didn’t concede one chance. They haven’t lost since they lost to us and they beat Bayern Munich so it wasn’t easy.”
City won the group ahead of Italian champions Juventus, and now they will get a somewhat easier draw in the first knockout stage, as they will avoid teams like Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
“I think the hard work we did already – I always said the most important thing was to qualify and it’s not easy to do it,” Pellegrini said.
“After that it was important to finish in the top spot and we did it tonight.
“It’s better to finish first but all important teams will be in Round of 16 – if you want to win the title you have to play against the biggest teams.
“I always use the example of when I was at Malaga – everyone wanted Malaga but we did very well – we won’t have an easy match.
“Of course it’s better not to draw Barcelona or Real Madrid at this stage but it’s only one round we avoid them.”