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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 14 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 9, 2011

Mancini: Europa League is great

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes the Europa League is now ''a great competition'' as his side prepare to face Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of the last-16.

Mancini feels his team will have to be at their best if they are to win the trophy and end a 35-year trophy drought, especially in Kiev where Dynamo have not lost in six UEFA home matches since a 2-1 Champions League group stage defeat by Barcelona in December 2009.

''The Europa League is a great competition,'' he said. ''There are big teams in it. You can get to the quarter-finals and meet an important team.

''There are a lot of well-known sides in the competition. All the teams we can play usually play in the Champions League. It is a little Champions League. All the teams are big ones.''

Mancini would love two trophies as well as a place in the Champions League next season - as his side face Reading in their next game in the FA Cup on Sunday - but knows it will be tough.

He said: ''We will try to reach the final if it is possible, both in the Europa League and the FA Cup. It depends on our players recovering their strength.''

Spanish forward David Silva is only too aware of the difficulty facing City at the Valeriy Lobanovskiy Stadium. He played and scored there in the 2008-09 UEFA Cup but Valencia went out on the away goals rule.

Silva recalled: ''It's a difficult place to go to. We got a 1-1 draw so we didn't do too badly. They're a difficult team and at their stadium it's very tough but we're excited about our chances of going through.''

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