Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has called for patience from fans.
A section of the Etihad Stadium crowd booed the team off at half-time on Saturday following a disappointing first-half display against Swansea City.
City showed signs of a European hangover following a poor performance in the Amsterdam ArenaA against Ajax on Wednesday, prompting jeers from a minority of fans – only to grind out a narrow 1-0 win thanks for Carlos Tevez’s strike on the hour mark.
“They must understand it was a difficult occasion. When you’re tired and have just had a defeat in the Champions League, maybe you can be disappointing. All teams need their supporters for 90 minutes,” Mancini told the Daily Mail.
“This was a good win. After a defeat in the Champions League it was important to win quickly again.”
Manchester City find themselves on the brink of elimination from the Champions League after losing two of their three opening group stage games but Mancini believes that subsequent negative press is undeserved after the team’s unbeaten start to their Premier League title defence.
“After all that’s been said in the last few days, I thought we were bottom of the Premier League,” the former Inter boss said.
“But I’ve just looked at the table and we’re in second position.”
The Italian pleaded for more time to improve his team, observing that overnight success in the Champions League was never going to happen.
“Yes, this is normal (to take time to adapt to the Champions League) but we are a good team,” Mancini said.
“This is only the second time in the Champions League for us.
“For Chelsea to win the Champions League it took them 10 or 11 years. But for those 10 years they were still a fantastic team.
“But if we want to say to our supporters: ‘OK, now we are ready to win the Champions League’, then it’s not true.” he said.
“We can play better but there are other teams who have always played in the Champions League and sometimes they don’t play well too.”
Following Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester United on Sunday, the champions are just one point off the top of the table having won four consecutive games and Mancini believes that his side can still improve given enough time.
“In two years we’ve won three trophies, so we’ve done well,” the 47-year-old said.
“Everyone that works with us knows we need time.
“We won the title last season but we need to work, we need to improve, to learn other things.”