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Shearer says: “There are no excuses for English clubs in the Champions League”

| 17.09.2017

Legendary striker shares his latest views

It didn’t surprise me to see Manchester City and Manchester United pick up comfortable wins in the Champions League earlier this week.

Of the English clubs, they have the best chance of going the furthest in the competition this season.

Tottenham had to win their game against Dortmund if they are to have a chance of progressing and they got an excellent result against a very good side.

They were handed a tough group, so by taking three points from one of their main rivals for that qualification place, it leaves them nicely placed already.

The win at Wembley and the two goals for Harry Kane will give them a huge boost. They will fancy themselves to kick on now this season and to believe they can have a really good campaign.

I think all five English clubs will get out of their groups now and make the last 16.

Liverpool obviously dropped a couple of points at home to Sevilla but I do believe they will be OK.

It is like a broken record with them. They are always great going forward, but were very poor at the back again.

When they come up against the big boys they will be punished in this competition.

Chelsea will also have enough to get out of their group and had a very comfortable start against FC Qarabag.

It would be great for the Premier League if all five English clubs progressed into the last 16.

They still have a way to go to be as dominant as Real Madrid or Barcelona as they are a long way off the level of performance I saw from Real Madrid in the final just a few months ago.

English clubs should aim to go all the way

People are trying to find ways to address the English club’s lack of success in recent years but I don’t buy into the calls for a winter break.

There were no complaints about the lack of a winter break when we were doing well in the competition.

We now have some of the most high-profile managers in the world in England.

We may not have the best players, but the likes of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have been brought into their clubs to be successful in the Premier League and the Champions League.

Manchester City did not employ Pep Guardiola to win the League Cup. There are no excuses now with the finances some of these clubs have. They should go into the Champions League looking to go all the way.

Balancing domestic and European duties

I see that last week Mauricio Pochettino said in an interview that last year he was startled by the “massive amount of focus and energy” the Champions League demanded.

But he hardly helped himself last season when he played a weakened team against Monaco in the Champions League and then put a strong team out in the Premier League just three days later.

He also said that to him the Premier League is considered a higher priority in England than the Champions League, which is not the case in other European nations.

However I don’t think you need to prioritise the Champions League over the Premier League to be successful in it. That is why our clubs have huge squads now and pay big money for squad players.

It is of course worth remembering that the Premier League is far more competitive than any of the other major leagues in Europe.

There are five clubs, maybe six, who can win the Premier League each season whereas in France, PSG are expected to walk the league, Bayern Munich dominate the Bundesliga and generally it is between Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain.

But that’s the challenge that these big name Premier League managers, like Mourinho, Guardiola and Klopp, have been brought in to deal with and overcome.

In terms of who will lift the trophy, it is hard to look beyond Real Madrid again this season.

I was doing the co-commentary for BBC Radio Five Live for the Final and their second-half performance against Juventus was exceptional.  They are still the stand-out team at this moment in time.

European nights

I used to love playing in the Champions League. They are great nights, challenging yourself against the best.

I particularly remember scoring a hat-trick for Newcastle against Leverkusen which was one of the highlights of my time in the competition and my two goals against Inter Milan at the San Siro.

Newcastle were also the first team to lose their opening three group games and then still qualify to the knockout stages. We had to go to Feyenoord in the last game to win and we got the three points.

When you hear that Champions League theme before the game, you know you are in against the big boys.

If you want to be seen as one of the best players or clubs in the world, you have to perform in this competition.



Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer played his entire career at the top level of English football, winning the Premier League title with Blackburn in 1994-95. The following summer he signed for his hometown club, Newcastle United, for a then world record £15 million fee.

He ended his playing career with a record 260 Premier League goals, which still stands today. He also won 63 caps for England, including 34 as captain, and among his 30 international goals were five scored at Euro 96, a total that won him the Golden Boot at that tournament.

Now the chief pundit on Match Of The Day, Alan was one of the first two players inducted into the Premier League Hall Of Fame this year.