Benni Sees Power Shift As Liverpool, Man Utd & Co. Progress
Benni McCarthy, the only South African ever to win the UEFA Champions League, thinks there may be a power shift back to English clubs after big wins for Manchester United and Liverpool.
This season, there will be four Premier League sides in the quarter-finals of the UCL for the first time in a decade, with United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur all progressing at the expense of the likes of Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.
McCarthy's former club FC Porto, with whom he won the Champions League, are one of the teams left in the tournament going into the final eight, but Bafana Bafana's all-time top goalscorer has been impressed with how England's teams have dealt with their challenges in the tournament so far.
Speaking to Soccer Laduma at the launch of Pepsi Max's #WinLikeABaller campaign on Wednesday night, the Cape Town City head coach said: "I don't think it's just the way the draw panned out… The English teams had a tough draw, I think Manchester City probably had it the easiest with Schalke, and when Schalke were up for it they caused problems for them. But with the quality City have, they were able to come back and get back into the game."
While some feel City may have had the easier of the draw, United, Liverpool and Spurs certainly did not have an easy run-in, and McCarthy thinks the current level of the EPL played a role in their progression.
"Manchester United had no chance of qualifying against PSG; with Liverpool and Bayern, not many people saw that coming; and with Dortmund's form, you wouldn't have put it past them to go and kill Spurs, but Spurs did amazing," McCarthy added.
"The English teams have finally got the experience in their sides from playing in the UEFA Champions League for a few years that they're gaining momentum. For instance, it's not the first time for Spurs any more, and now they're mixing it up with the big boys.
"I think the pace of the Premier League helps when going to the Champions League, because most other teams can't live with it."
Pepsi Max launched their #WinLikeABaller campaign on Wednesday evening, with R200 000 up for grabs in prize money.