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Dec 4, 2012

Mancini not embarrassed by UCL exit

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini claims there is no embarrassment in the failure to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League.

• Blog: A straitjacket made in blue
• Qualification permutations

City are without a win from their five Champions League games to date and have seen Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid book the spots in the knockout stages.

Mancini's men need a positive result in their final group game against Dortmund on Tuesday to stand any chance of pipping Ajax to the place in the Europa League.

Having won the Premier League last term, City's showing in Europe has been disappointing. But Mancini baulked at suggestions it has been an embarrassment.

"Embarrassment for what I don't know," Mancini said at a press conference on Monday. "We are disappointed as we wanted to go to the second stage this year.

"I think in football we need to learn that if there are other teams that play better than you and deserve to go through then you accept this. We did not play well, Borussia and Real Madrid played better than us.

"We will try again next year."

Mancini is adamant he wants to win the Europa League this season - but will not harm the club's Premier League title defence in order to do so. The Italian has confirmed he will put his large squad at the Etihad Stadium to full use in the New Year, as he plans to field two completely different lineups in the two competitions in order to prevent fatigue affecting his side. With European games - potentially involving considerable travel - set to take place on Thursday and league fixtures to follow up on Sunday, Mancini sees no other option, despite being keen to walk away with the European trophy. "Even though we can't go through to the second stage of the Champions League, it is still important we try to stay in the Europa League," Mancini said. "Our target is the Premier League - that has been the case since the start of the season - but we'll still try and stay in the Europa League. "If in the New Year we could win the Europa League, it could be an important trophy for the club and we need to win something this season and every season. "But if we go in the Europa League we will play different teams. "When you play Champions League, you play on a Tuesday or Wednesday, then Saturday or Sunday in the Premier League. But with the Europa League, this is just impossible. "If you don't get any help from the FA [with scheduling] then this is the problem with the Europa League. "But we want to play in it. We want to stay in Europe - however, if we do, we will play two different teams, one on Thursday and another one on Sunday."

Europa League qualification is not guaranteed for the English side, however - they need to beat Borussia Dortmund away in the final Champions League group stage game and hope Ajax do not do the same against Real Madrid if they are to finish third in Group D. City's game against Dortmund takes place on Tuesday, but Mancini will be unable to rotate as much as he would like ahead of the weekend's derby meeting with Manchester United due to injuries. Gael Clichy, Aleksandar Kolarov, James Milner, Micah Richards and David Silva are all carrying knocks, while Yaya Toure is suspended. He said: "We can't qualify but also we have a problem because we don't have a lot of players. All the players who are available will play [on Tuesday]."

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