Champions League progress secured, Pep Guardiola says Manchester City can now 'focus on the Premier League'

Atalanta's win over Dinamo Zagreb means City can't be knocked off top spot in Group C with a game still to spare

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MATCH INFO

Manchester City 1 (Gundogan 56')

Shakhtar Donetsk 1 (Solomon 69')

With progress to the last 16 of the Champions League secured, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he will now turn his attention to the Premier League and chopping away at Liverpool's nine-point lead over the champions.

City were far from their best in eking out a 1-1 draw against Ukraine champions Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, but Ilkay Gundogan's second half strike put them on course to wrap up first place in Group C with one game to spare.

Although Manor Solomon equalised for Shakhtar, Atalanta's win over Dinamo Zagreb ensured City can't be knocked off top spot as they reached the knockout stages of Europe's premier club competition for a seventh successive season.

"We have qualified. We played so good in second half. The group stage is always tricky but the target was to qualify and we have done it," Guardiola said.

"Now we have one competition already done - we play the last game qualified as first in the group - so we can focus on the Premier League until we arrive in the cups."

With the group clinched, Guardiola has the bonus of being able to rest players for the trip to Zagreb on December 11.

That could prove crucial to City as the Zagreb fixture comes between vital Premier League matches against Manchester United and Arsenal.

Liverpool are nine points clear of third-placed City and with qualification for the lat-16 secured Guardiola can afford to tinker with his injury-hit squad for the Zagreg game at least.

Indeed Europe could provide Guardiola's best hope of a major prize this term.

The Catalan won the Champions League twice as Barcelona manager but the last of those triumphs came in 2011. He failed to take City beyond the quarter-finals in each of his three seasons in charge.

"Shakhtar have quality players and are well organised and have an extraordinary goalkeeper so we knew it would be difficult," Guardiola added.

"We had a lot of opportunities but at the end, 1-1 was enough to qualify. We did it seven years in a row.

"But this competition in February will be completely different, tougher. We'll see in which conditions we arrive there. This competition is about the details."

MATCH INFO

Manchester City 1 (Gundogan 56')

Shakhtar Donetsk 1 (Solomon 69')

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