Joao Cancelo believes Manchester City "deserve to win the Champions League" and says the team need to embrace the pressure of finally landing European football's most coveted prize.
City fell at the last hurdle last season, losing 1-0 to Chelsea in the final, with Kai Havertz's first-half goal proving the difference.
It was the first time under boss Pep Guardiola in which City had progressed beyond the quarter-final stage in the competition, and Cancelo is determined to help his side go all the way this time around.
"This club deserves to win the Champions League," Cancelo said ahead of City's round of 16 first-leg clash at Sporting CP on Tuesday. "It's what this club works towards and it's what we are trying to do this season.
"The team are going through a good phase. We don't concede many and we score a lot. That reflects our daily work. Now, we concentrate on the Champions League. Against Sporting – that's the game we want to win.
"We're a very strong team. The players we have know how to deal with the pressure of getting to the Champions League final - but we are up against the best teams in Europe. We need to embrace pressure."
CANCELO This club deserves to win the Champions League.— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 14, 2022
It’s what this club works towards. And it’s what we are trying to do this season.
Guardiola hailed the confidence and harmony within the City camp, suggesting their 2-1 defeat to RB Leipzig in their last group-stage game - a dead rubber with top spot tied up - was down to a lack of mental preparation.
"Confidence [has always been] high [within the squad]," Guardiola said. "Not just this season or the previous season. We have been behaving for a long time with the highest standards. We had an incredible run [in the Champions League last season].
"In Leipzig, we weren't ready mentally after already qualifying, the rest was good. I say every day, compete for ourselves. Every three days, we've done that for the last years and will do that again tomorrow.
"The harmony [within the squad] right now is exceptional. Thanks to the captains and many reasons. It is exceptional. We know each other well. It’s been six seasons, we know each other perfectly. We accept the good things, the bad things, to fight and be part of that."