Mancini: Title defence boosted
Roberto Mancini confessed Manchester City's failure to qualify for the Europa League will boost their Premier League title defence, but insisted he was desperate to play in the competition and is bitterly disappointed to have missed out.
That result meant Ajax, not City, will drop out of the Champions League and into the Europa League last-32, with City falling out of Europe entirely. The prospect of an easier schedule for his injury-hit squad did not console Mancini.
"We are not in the Europa League and for this we are disappointed," he told Sky Sports. "Last season we did better. This year we had a very difficult group and if you make a mistake in the first games, it's difficult.
"Clearly it's better for the Premier League because we don't play in the Europa League, but we wanted to play in the Europa League, that was our target tonight."
City paid the price for a campaign in which they picked up three points from six games, scoring seven goals. Mancini was in no doubt that his forwards had cost the club progression in the competition.
"Tonight we tried but we were missing players. We tried to score but if you don't score it is difficult to win," the Italian said. "We wanted this, but to win we need to score. We had a chance, but we didn't. If you don't score it's difficult."
Now Mancini must raise his team's spirits for a showdown with neighbours United on Sunday, and he appeared to hint that key players could return, with the likes of David Silva missing in Germany due to injury.
"We will recover some players for Sunday, it will be a different game," Mancini concluded.