Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany said they played like a team “hungry for success” as they put a poor recent run behind them to move to the verge of the Champions League quarterfinals with a 3-1 win at Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday.
City had lost their previous three matches, denting their Premier League hopes with back-to-back defeats by Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur and exiting the FA Cup with a humiliating 5-1 loss at Chelsea.
They put in a barn-storming first-half display in Ukraine, however, and held off a Kiev fightback after the break to edge closer to a maiden appearance in the last eight of the Champions League.
City have failed at this hurdle for the last two seasons, although both those ties were against Barcelona.
“The performance was good, with a lot of high pressing, 3-1 is a good result and we are happy with it,” Kompany told BT Sport.
“We are going into the second leg with a fairly good chance to go through, which has not been the case before. We looked like a team that was hungry for success tonight.”
City were slick in their approach play in the opening 45 minutes, slicing through their opponents almost at will and taking a 2-0 lead with goals from Sergio Aguero and David Silva.
Kiev pulled a goal back when Vitaliy Buyalskiy’s deflected effort beat Joe Hart, but a 90th-minute curler from Yaya Toure restored their two-goal advantage.
Apart from a brief wobble when Kiev reduced the arrears, it was a reassuring display for City manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose side face Liverpool in the League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.
“Maybe when it was 2-1 we had moments of doubt, but then we got the third goal,” Pellegrini said.
“Is the tie settled? No, it is important in football to never think it is finished. But to have that third goal gives us more confidence for the second leg.”