Clichy: We’ll play without fear

City make their long-awaited entrance in Europe’s elite club
competition on Wednesday as they take on Italian side Napoli in
their Group A opener at the Etihad Stadium. Roberto Mancini’s
expensively-assembled side have made a flying start to their
domestic campaign and summer signing Clichy expects that to
continue. The former Arsenal player is one of a number of City
stars with plenty of Champions League experience, having made 42
appearances during his eight seasons in north London. The
26-year-old said: “I am lucky enough to have been able to play in a
few Champions League games for Arsenal, which was good, but I am
aware it’s a new competition for this club. “It’s not only me who
has played in it before – Yaya (Toure) has won it. “For us it may
be one more game, like many we have played in the past, but we have
to be aware it’s a big part of City’s season this year. “We have to
make sure that if there is something we can bring in terms of
experience – and it may just be a little thing – that we bring it.
“Then maybe we can make the kind of statement in the Champions
League we have been making since the start of the season. “The
confidence is there, and we go into this competition with no fear.”
City will also play German giants Bayern Munich and Spanish side
Villarreal during the group stage. The group is considered one of
the toughest in the competition and Clichy has brushed aside
suggestions Napoli, third in Serie A last year, will be the easiest
of the opponents. “That is the view of people who don’t really know
about football,” said the Frenchman. “They are a strong side, and
if you are at this stage of the competition and in the group, it
means you have qualities. “Champions League is a totally different
kind of football.” Clichy joined City in a £7million deal in
July and has so far been sharing left-back duties with Aleksandar
Kolarov. Clichy is keen to play as much as possible but accepts
squad rotation is a necessity. He said: “When you sign for a club
like City, with all those players, you have to be ready for the
competition. “You have to keep rotating – I have been there with
Arsenal. “When you are not injured and not playing you feel a bit
upset, but that will pay off after December because we are playing
every three days and you need a big squad to go all the way
through.” While Clichy has revelled in City’s outstanding start to
the season – four league wins with 15 goals scored – the club he
left behind have laboured. The Gunners lost two of their star
players in Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, the latter to City, and
were thrashed 8-2 at Manchester United last month. Clichy added: “I
am sure they will be up there at the end of the season. “They won
at the weekend and it could be the turning point of their season.
“No-one is happy to start the season like that. “Fortunately I am
not playing for Arsenal any more, and I am just enjoying my time
here. Hopefully we can stay focused on our performances.”