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.”