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Mancini fears fixture congestion

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini fears qualification for the Europa League could ruin his side’s Premier League defence.

City sit bottom of Champions League Group D, but know victory away against already qualified Borussia Dortmund will see them up to third, should Ajax lose to Real Madrid.

But Mancini admits the lack of recovery time between Europa League matches on Thursdays and Premier League fixtures on the weekend would likely see him rotate his squad heavily between the two.

“When you play in the Champions League, you can play Tuesday or Wednesday, then Saturday or Sunday in the Premier League,” the Italian told reporters.

“But with the Europa League, this is impossible. If you don’t get any help from the FA, then this is the problem with the Europa League.

“When you play in the Europa League, you don’t have a lot of days to recover for the games in the Premier League.

“If we get into the Europa League, we will play different teams, one on Thursday and one Sunday.”

However, the 48-year-old insists his club would take the competition very seriously should they qualify, presenting it as a good opportunity to add to their trophy collection.

“But we want to play in the Europa League. We want to stay in it,” he added.

“Even though we can’t go through to the second stage of the Champions League, it’s important we try to 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. It’s important that we win a trophy this season.

“The Champions League is difficult every year and we had the toughest group this year. But now we can do nothing.

“We can’t get to the next stage, so we’ll try to do our best to get into the Europa League.”

Mancini also took issue with the notion that City should be embarrassed at their early Champions League exit, though he admits they were deserving of their fate.

“Embarrassment? For what I don’t know,” said the Italian. “We are ­disappointed but sometimes other teams play better than you and deserve to go through.”

Tue 4 Dec, 2012
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