‘Clever Real highlight gap to English teams’

Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid lifts the trophy after Real Madrid win the Champions League final



Real Madrid won their third Champions League in four years with a crushing 4-1 win over Juventus

I am expecting English teams to make far more of an impact in next season’s Champions League, but they are a long way off the level I saw in Saturday’s final.

None of the five Premier League sides who will be involved are near the same class as Real Madrid or Juventus. A lot of work needs to be done, and a lot of signings need to be made for any of them to have a chance of winning it.

It was Real’s speed of thought and quality of passing that saw them run away with the game in Cardiff in the second half with a performance which set the standards that our clubs need to match.

The Spanish champions were too quick and too clever for Juve and their one- and two-touch football was a lesson to everyone about what you have to do to get success at the highest level.

I don’t know what happened to Juve after the break, but they had been brilliant in the first half when they were full of energy and power, and their defence has been formidable all season.

Even before the final, I thought there was a lot of work to be done by our teams just to catch both sides up.

Watching the game highlighted the gap even more, but there are some reasons to be optimistic that the situation will change soon.

Super-coaches and spending power

Guardiola won the Champions League with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011<!–

Pep Guardiola won the Champions League with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011

It is five years since an English club reached the Champions League final, when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in 2012.

Only two of our sides have reached the semi-finals in that time – Chelsea in 2014 and Manchester City in 2016. Leicester were the only side to make the last eight this season.

It is imperative that record improves, and I think it can with Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool all in next season’s competition.

Those teams have got some of the best – if not the best – coaches in the world, all of whom have now settled in at their clubs.

You also have to consider how much they are going to spend over the summer.

Look at City – they have already spent in the region of £80m on Monaco midfielder Bernardo Silva and Benfica goalkeeper Ederson Moraes, and they have not even got started yet.

I think that tells you what you need to know about their intent, and I am sure the other Premier League teams will follow suit. They will certainly have the funds to do so.

Clubs and managers have winning ambitions

Antonio Conte<!–

Antonio Conte took Juventus to the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2012-13, where they lost 4-0 on aggregate to Bayern Munich. His only other season in the competition saw Juve eliminated in the group stage.

I don’t think many of the English teams in the Champions League will admit it, but they are all in it to win it.

You only have to look at who they are, who they are being managed by, and the success those managers have previously had to realise what their target will be.

To put it simply, being in the Champions League is not enough – they have got to do well in it too.

Antonio Conte does not have a great record in the competition, but that has to change because of where Chelsea demand to be.

We already know how driven Conte is, so he will target more personal success too.

It is the same with United, who like Chelsea missed out on the Champions League last year. Jose Mourinho has got them back in, but now they have to make a big impact. As a two-time winner with Porto and Inter Milan, he will accept nothing less.

City have qualified consistently over the past seven years but their owners’ ambitions means they need to do more than that.

Pep Guardiola is another manager with a big reputation and winning record in this competition, and clearly they want some success in it themselves.

Tottenham performed poorly last season and did not get out of the group stage, and to improve they will need to get over the fact they are playing at Wembley, not White Hart Lane.

Their young players will have more experience of the competition, though, and I’m expecting an improved showing from them.

Liverpool will also have high hopes too, and will be desperate to get through their play-off round in August.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp got to the final in 2013 with Borussia Dortmund and he will think he can do the same with Liverpool now.

Realistically, though, all five English teams should be looking to get into the knockout stages at the very least, and they could go a lot further if they strengthen properly.

Getting to next year’s final in Kiev

Manchester United players celebrate winning the 2008 Champions League final<!–

Three Premier League sides reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in every season between 2006-07 and 2008-09

English clubs are having a pretty barren spell in the Champions League, especially compared to the time a few years ago when we were dominating it.

Real, with their exciting attack, and Juve, who are a team built from the back, show that contrasting styles can work.

I co-commentated on the final for 5 live, and the atmosphere in Cardiff when I walked around outside the stadium a few hours before kick-off was just magic.

If our teams want to be on the same stage at next year’s final in Kiev then, like I say, they need to improve dramatically.

Our teams have to look at Real and Juve to realise how much progress they need to make the final, and it is quite some distance.

Alan Shearer was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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