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Mancini blames mistakes & targets Europa League

ESPN staff
November 21, 2012 « Champions League - Live scores and updates | Chartbeat test »

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Roberto Mancini blamed Manchester City's catalogue of errors throughout the campaign for Wednesday's Champions League exit, but defiantly stated that he wants to qualify for the Europa League.

Mancini saw his men crash out of the competition at the Etihad, drawing 1-1 with Real Madrid when only a win would do. They must now win in Dortmund and hope Ajax do not beat Madrid in order to enter the Europa League.

With such a busy league schedule still to come, Mancini was asked if he would prefer to avoid extra fixtures in the Europa League, but the Italian replied on Sky Sports: "We want to be in the Europa League, if it is possible."

Reflecting on City's doomed campaign, which has seen them take three points from five matches, Mancini recalled key moments away at Madrid and Ajax, when both times City led before losing.

"We didn't lose it tonight, we lost it in the first games. Madrid [away] and Dortmund at home, and at Ajax, we made mistakes. At Madrid we were leading 2-1 with five minutes to go. At Ajax we led 1-0 with two chances to close the game.

"I hope this helps to give us more experience. I am disappointed, like everyone here. But also, when we started this group we knew it was a difficult group. We are a good team, but when you play Madrid or Dortmund, these things can happen. We wanted to go to the next stage."

Even in Wednesday's encounter, a clear defensive error from Maicon allowed Madrid to open the scoring, and Mancini insisted his team simply had to cut out such problems. He also paid tribute to the club's fans, who sang Mancini's name at full-time.

"The fans are fantastic, always they understand we are disappointed like them. They are really important because the season is not finished. We have the league, the FA Cup, other competitions.

"The first chance [Madrid] had, they scored. We made a mistake because we had five against two in the box and we conceded a goal. When you start this way, it's always difficult.

"We were 1-0 down and had nothing to lose, so we pushed up and played better, but also Madrid just played better than us in the first half."

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