Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini out of excuses for European failures

City's troubles in the Champions League will be little surprise to fans at Italian's former club, Inter

It was a night for concession speeches but, although both Mitt Romney and Yaya Touré invoked God, only the former Governor of Massachusetts actually admitted he was beaten.

Needing Manchester City to overcome Real Madrid and then Borussia Dortmund merely to have a chance of making the knockout stages of the Champions League, Touré remarked in the wake of the frenetic 2-2 draw with Ajax that has all but doomed his team: "We have to believe in God and I swear that maybe we can still go through. When you draw or lose, it is always difficult and, when you see the statistics, you can think we were unlucky. You have to have God with you."

God has not been with Roberto Mancini in the Champions League. A man who has won four league titles and a domestic cup with every club he has managed has never made it past a quarter-final in the European Cup.

This is a manager who in Manchester and Milan has twice taken the title by having to win on the final day of the season. On both occasions – with Zlatan Ibrahimovic coming on for Internazionale against Parma and Edin Dzeko against Queen's Park Rangers – it has been his tactical changes that secured the prize.

It is an imbalance that only Kenny Dalglish, who won four championships but never came remotely close to any European success, would recognise. And, at Liverpool, Dalglish laboured under the Heysel ban.

It will not help Mancini's mood that his fate will be decided by a Real Madrid side managed by Jose Mourinho, who at Inter did what Mancini failed to do and won the club's first European Cup since 1965.

Mancini has argued that City are not ready for the competition on the grounds that it is difficult to bring in big-name footballers with large egos and mould them into an effective unit. It took Mourinho two years, less time than Mancini has been in Manchester, to win the European Cup for Inter. And it is hard to imagine men less modest about their own abilities than Samuel Eto'o and Wesley Sneijder.

This was something Mancini never remotely came close to at Inter and shows no sign of doing in Manchester. Sometimes at San Siro he was undermined by individual indiscipline. His main striker, Adriano, was overweight and on the bottle. Indiscipline extended to the pitch. The following season, 2007-08, Inter faced Liverpool, had a man sent off in each leg, and Mancini's decision to employ Patrick Vieira as a defensive midfielder was ruthlessly exploited by Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt.

What undermined City has been a similar defensive frailty, emphasised by the fact that before kick-off on Tuesday no goalkeeper in this season's Champions League had had more shots aimed at him than Joe Hart. When Javi Garcia, who performed much the same role as Vieira did at Anfield, was taken off, a sigh of relief went round Eastlands.

You could argue Inter never really recovered from their first and best campaign under Mancini, which saw them qualify unbeaten from their group only to meet their neighbours in two literally incendiary matches at San Siro in April 2005. The second, Inter's "home" game, was abandoned with smoke pouring from the pitch as flares hailed down from the stands. One struck the Milan keeper, Dida. The game was abandoned, Inter were deemed to have lost 3-0 and ordered to play their next four fixtures in an empty arena.

Perhaps Mancini would argue that this was simply misfortune, of the kind that last season saw City become only the fifth club in the history of the Champions League to fail to qualify from their group with 10 points.

However there are other echoes that will not go away. Mancini has often picked disastrous times to fall out with his players. Last year in Munich it was Carlos Tevez. In 2006 during a 2-2 draw at Ajax, Mancini had to be separated from Marco Materazzi when the defender stalked down the tunnel after it was clear he would not be coming on as a substitute. His dressing rooms are sometimes cold places.

Ibrahimovic, the man who won the Scudetto for Mancini, was promptly sold by Mourinho but when asked about the Special One, said: "I could go out and kill for Mourinho, that's the motivation he gave me." Whether anyone would kill for Mancini is a question that has yet to be answered.

... but Mancini dodges ban for pitch rant at referee

Roberto Mancini will be able to oversee the remainder of Manchester City's Champions League group matches at close quarters after escaping disciplinary action for confronting a referee post-match.

It was thought the City manager would incur a touchline ban for his reaction after his side were held to a 2-2 draw by Ajax at the Etihad Stadium. Mancini went on to the pitch to argue with referee Peter Rasmussen after City had an 88th-minute Sergio Aguero goal disallowed and Mario Balotelli was denied a penalty in injury time.

But Uefa, announcing that no action would be taken over the incident after the final whistle, said: "Nothing was reported, neither by the delegate nor by the referee."

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
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.

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn