City left feeling sick after Cavani opens up early exit

 

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, admitted last night that his side have only a 30 per cent chance of progressing to the Champions League knock-out stage, on another disappointing night in Europe for the Manchester clubs.

Manchester United also face possible group stage elimination, in the unlikely event of them losing in Basle on 7 December, following a 2-2 draw at home to Benfica – though it is City who seem destined for the Europa League after their defeat in a cauldron at Napoli.

"I would give a 70 per cent chance to Napoli and 30 per cent to Manchester City," said Mancini, whose side need to beat Bayern Munich at home and then rely on a poor Villarreal side – who are yet to win in Group A – to draw with, or beat, Napoli. Mancini said he had faith in the Spaniards. "It obviously doesn't depend on us but if Villarreal give a good match they will get a result," he said.

Despite City's greater possession in the 2-1 defeat inflicted by two Edinson Cavani goals, Napoli were denied by three top-class saves by Joe Hart and Mancini was left to answer another series of questions about Mario Balotelli – who played despite reporting sickness on Monday. "He was sick yes, but he didn't have any problems," Mancini said. "It's not his [grass] allergy. He was sick yesterday, a fever, nothing serious. It was not serious enough for him not to play, it was only a small fever."

Balotelli was also pictured with his girlfriend, Raffaella Fico, at a pizzeria in Naples on Monday evening though the manager insisted this was acceptable. "He had my permission to say hello to his girlfriend [last night] for half an hour in a pizzeria in Naples," Mancini said. "But he scored a goal, so maybe I should have sent all of my players to a pizzeria."

City conceded two poor goals but their manager insisted that they simply lost undeservedly. "We conceded two goals that we shouldn't have done," he said. "There is nothing to explain. We are a strong team and we always play to win, but you can occasionally lose matches in the Champions League. We have another game in the group, but if we don't qualify, then we have the Europa League."

That would be a financial calamity to City, who were watched last night in Stadio San Paolo by owner Sheikh Mansour and need the revenues to help reduced the record financial losses which jeopardises their chances of complying with Uefa's financial fair play regime. But Mancini said that "our life doesn't finish if we don't go through. Our target was to go to the second stage, but at this moment, we depend on other teams."

Sir Alex Ferguson said last night that United did not fear playing the biggest teams in Europe in the first knockout round after their draw with Benfica left them likely to finish second in Group C.

Ferguson said: "The opportunities to play Inter, Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. You have to judge that this way: if you played them in the semi-final or the final, you would be only too delighted, knowing the possibility is to win the trophy. The clubs we will face will know that too.

"I think we did well [against Benfica] It is hard when you lose a goal so early in the match with the own goal and it took us a bit of time to get our rhythm going again. Once we did, we played really well. We did not deserve what happened tonight, but football can be like that."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee