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Nov 21, 2012

Mancini: I don't fear sack from City

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said he was not worried about the possibility of being sacked after watching his multi-million pound team crash out of the Champions League.

• Blog: Mourinho's epic century
• Jolly: Ten reasons why City are out
• Blog: Made in Manchester

Premier League leaders City drew 1-1 with Real Madrid at the Etihad on Wednesday night to pick up only their third group point - but that was not enough to keep their slim chance of reaching the knockout stages alive.

Chelsea, the Champions League holders, sacked manager Roberto Di Matteo on Wednesday after a 3-0 defeat at Juventus left them on the brink of becoming the first defending champions not to reach the knockout stages.

But Mancini, who steered City to the Premier League title last season, said he did not believe the same thing would happen to him.

"I don't fear this," he said. "If we think we can win a Champions League after two years, I think we are crazy.

"Chelsea tried to win a Champions League for 10 years. Probably in their best moments, they didn't win, and when they deserved to win a Champions League they didn't win.

"The Champions League is strange - it is difficult. Probably we need to improve our team. There are a lot of teams better than us in the Champions League."

Mancini blamed a catalogue of errors throughout the group campaign for his side's exit, but stressed that he wanted to qualify for and win the Europa League.

City must win in Dortmund and hope Ajax do not beat Madrid in order to qualify for the competition, and Mancini told Sky Sports: "We want to be in the Europa League if it is possible."

Reflecting on City's doomed campaign, he recalled key moments away at Madrid and Ajax, when City had led before losing.

"We didn't lose it tonight, we lost it in the first games," he said. "Madrid [away] and Dortmund at home, and at Ajax, we made mistakes. At Madrid, we were leading 2-1 with five minutes to go. At Ajax, we led 1-0 with two chances to close the game.

"I hope this helps to give us more experience. I am disappointed, like everyone here. But when we started this group, we knew it was a difficult group. We are a good team, but when you play Madrid or Dortmund, these things can happen. We wanted to go to the next stage."

Mancini said City had to eradicate the defensive errors that have plagued their Champions League campaign, and thanked the fans at the Etihad, who sang his name at full-time.

"The fans are fantastic, they understand we are disappointed like them," he added. "They are really important because the season is not finished. We have the league, the FA Cup, other competitions."

His Madrid counterpart Jose Mourinho offered his backing, saying: "I think the club must support its manager the maximum they can."

But he added: "In this group, we knew from the beginning a big team would go out and it is good it is City, because Roberto can work without any problem. If it was Real, the press wouldn't let me return to Madrid.

"It is incredible when you look at the array of players they have got that they have been eliminated in the group stages two years running."

City keeper Joe Hart voiced his frustration as City's Champions League campaign ended in huge anti-climax, telling Sky Sports: "It's incredibly disappointing.

"We're a very good team and we've surprised ourselves in a very bad way. We weren't able to do the business when it mattered."

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