Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Mancini left disappointed by European flop

DORTMUND, Germany (AFP) – Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was disappointed the English champions failed to even qualify for the Europa League after their 1-0 loss against Borussia Dortmund in their final Champions League group match on Tuesday.
City’s abject display against a second string Dortmund side – who topped the group while the English champions finished bottom – saw them become the first English side to finish a Champions League group stage with just three points and without a victory.
“Getting into the Europa League was our target tonight,” said Mancini, who in his two previous seasons has guided City to first the FA Cup and then last term the Premier League title.
“We wanted to win but to win we needed to score. We are not in the Europa League and for this we should be disappointed.
“We were in a tough group but if you make mistakes in early games as we did you will not qualify.”
City keeper Joe Hart, who was probably the team’s best player on the night, said it was the same old story for his team, and he doesn’t know the answer to the problem.
“There was a hunger to win tonight, and if that meant Europa League than great,” said Hart, who made a series of great saves to keep the scoreline respectable.
“But we have got bigger issues than that. We were up against a weakened team and we had to win.
“We should be fighting to go through to the last 16 on the last day and we have only got ourselves to blame that we are not.”
With their European season over, City will now focus entirely on defending their Premier League crown with the huge Manchester derby against leaders United next up on Sunday.
“It will help (in the Premier League) because we are not in the Europa League but at the moment we cannot think about this,” said Mancini, whose team is three points behind United.
“Sunday will be different for sure, it will be a very tough game but we will recover some players.”
Hart meanwhile doesn’t think the European flop will have an impact on their Premier League campaign.
“We have been fantastic in the league though so there is no worries on that front,” he said.
“We have been consistent. Hopefully we can win the league and be back (in the Champions League) next year.”
Dortmund’s journey in the Champions League continues after a huge campaign already – ending unbeaten in the group on 14 points.
“We didn’t think we would take 14 points though I knew that we would be a tough out. But to win games against those types of teams is amazing,” said their coach Jurgen Klopp.
“There are still great teams left in the Champions League. But I think we have earned some respect. You can’t just look past us. We definitely are looking forward to what comes next.”
City striker Edin Dzeko said the rest of the teams in the knockout stages should not be looking forward to facing Dortmund.
“They are a great team. Are they favourites, I don’t know. But the way they played in this group against some great teams, they have a chance,” said Dzeko.
Mancini also would not be surprised if Dortmund – who won the trophy in 1997 – go far in the competition.J
“Borussia went out in the group stages last year and, like us, they were in last place and now this year I believe they are one of the teams that can win it,” said Mancini.

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