Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes his depleted side deserve more credit after progressing to the Champions League last 16.
A 2-0 win in Roma, combined with Bayern Munich's 3-0 victory over CSKA Moscow, secured City's place in Monday's draw despite the absence of key players.
"This team deserves a little bit more credit than the press gives us," Pellegrini told Sky Sports.
"Trust has been key. I had a lot of trust in what we could do."
City's sixth victory in succession was secured despite the absence of captain Vincent Kompany and top goalscorer Sergio Aguero through injury, plus suspended midfielder Yaya Toure.
Playmaker David Silva managed 23 minutes as a substitute on his return from a knee injury.
|Who could Manchester City face in last 16?|
|Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Monaco, Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona or Porto.|
City failed to win their first four Champions League games of the season, including a 1-1 home draw with Roma, but a 3-2 victory over Bayern Munich in their penultimate match gave them hope of qualifying.
"I said I didn't want to talk about players not in the team," said Pellegrini. "You must decide to play without Kompany, without Yaya Toure, without Silva, without Aguero... It's difficult for a team.
"Before the game, I spoke with the players and I told them I thought we played the worst game of the season against Roma in Manchester. We were sure that, by playing the way we have been in the last few weeks, we could win and we did.
"We are playing in two different competitions. We have finished with the Champions League, we have qualified. We will start thinking about this again in February."
|Who has qualified?|
|Group A||Atletico Madrid||Juventus|
|Group B||Real Madrid||Basel|
|Group C||Monaco||Bayer Leverkusen|
|Group D||Borussia Dortmund||Arsenal|
|Group E||Bayern Munich||Manchester City|
|Group H||Porto||Shakhtar Donetsk|
City goalkeeper Joe Hart produced brilliant saves in the Stadio Olimpico to deny Gervinho and Kostas Manolas as the visitors repelled heavy pressure at times.
Samir Nasri opened the scoring after the break, and Pablo Zabaleta's late second secured a place in the last 16 for the English champions.
"We are a strong unit and we believed in it," Hart said.
"We've got resolve, we've got character and we've got great players. Add that all together and you have a chance."