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Mancini: Group-stage exit no surprise

Roberto Mancini insists Manchester City’s owners did not expect the team to progress from their ‘difficult’ Champions League group.

The Premier League champions’ second consecutive group-stage exit was confirmed on Wednesday after a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid, City’s third point from five games in the competition.

When asked if the club’s owners would be aggrieved with the team’s failures in Europe, Mancini told Sky Sports: “No. We knew it was a difficult group. But we had a good team, when you lose against Madrid and Dortmund you are disappointed.

“I am disappointed like everyone here but also when we started this group we knew it’d be a difficult group. We are a good team and we went out and we made some mistakes.

“The fans are fantastic. They understand we are disappointed like them. They are really important because the season isn’t finished. We are top of the league, we have the FA Cup. Now it’s finished, we can do nothing.”

City are yet to register a win in the competition this term, and Mancini rued mistakes in previous games – namely the two late goals conceded against Real Madrid on matchday one.

He continued: “I think that we didn’t lose tonight, we lost in the first few days. Madrid, and Dortmund at home. It was a different game but 2-1 with five minutes to go.

“In Amsterdam, we scored, but we were missing one or two chances to close the game.”

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho refused to read too much into his side’s second-placed finish in the group behind Dortmund, stating that his previous successes in the competition with Porto and Inter came after finishing as runners-up.

Real had to beat City on Wednesday to have any chance of progressing to the knock-out rounds as group winners, but Sergio Aguero’s late penalty distinguished any hopes of them usurping the German champions, who ran out 4-1 winners over Ajax.

“On two occasions I finished second in the group stage, I won the Champions League,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.

“I finished behind Real Madrid with Porto and we won, and with Inter I finished behind Barcelona and won.

“The other times I finished first, I never won the competition. My experience proves that it doesn’t mean so much.

“I think the teams that finished first did well, but after that they are waiting for an opponent who, in principle, is easier for them to overcome, only to discover that they get Real Madrid in the draw.”

Reflecting on the draw with their English counterparts, Mourinho said he was disappointed not to come away from the match with victory.

“I think (we deserved to win), because we had plenty of chances to score the second goal, and if you do that in the first half, the match should be over early on,” he said.

“But we didn’t score. (Man City) reacted and got the penalty that you on television are in a better position to judge.

“Arbeloa was shown a red card. Again, you are on TV and in a better position to analyse the situation. After that, we were in no position to win and we played for the point to progress to the next round.”

Thu 22 November, 2012
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