Marseille boss Andre Villas-Boas believes Manchester City are good enough to win the Champions League with their ‘B’ team.
The French side are expecting to find out just how strong City’s so-called second string can be when the clubs meet at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.
Having already secured a place in the Champions League last 16, City manager Pep Guardiola has suggested he will make wholesale changes for the Group C encounter.
Porto have already taken the runners-up spot in the pool but the game is still important for Marseille as they look to pip Olympiacos to the consolation of a Europa League place.
Villas-Boas, the former Chelsea and Tottenham manager, said: “Qualifying is not in our hands.
“Hopefully Porto will do us a favour but we know it is going to be hard against Manchester City. They have so many options, and so many top-level options as well.
“We cannot rely on Porto but we must be at our best to get a positive result because City’s ‘B’ team are strong enough to win the Champions League, I think.”
City have become regulars in the latter stages of the competition, their performances this season having seen them power through to the last 16 for an eighth successive year.
Yet winning the tournament has been elusive so far despite boasting a star-studded squad. They have just one semi-final showing to their name, in 2016, and Guardiola – a two-time winner as Barcelona boss – has overseen three consecutive quarter-final defeats.
Villas-Boas said: “The expectations have been very high for City but there will be nobody with more willingness to win it than Pep at this moment.
“Every year that they start they believe it’s going to be their year and they have the capacity and the squad, but it’s down to small details.
“In the Champions League I’m no expert. Pep is the expert, he’s won it twice as a manager.
“City have been waiting so long, and the quality they have is second to none, the options they have.”
Marseille, who are fourth in Ligue 1, lost their first four group matches – including 3-0 to City at home – but kept themselves in the Europa League picture by coming from behind to beat Olympiacos 2-1 with two Dimitri Payet penalties last week.