Mancini: We're learning, but can still top the group


Roberto Mancini said last night that it was still possible for Manchester City to finish top of Group A after Sergio Aguero's dramatic late goal gave the club their first win in the Champions League against Villarreal.

The City manager, whose team won 2-1, said that the group was open after Napoli drew 1-1 with leaders Bayern Munich in Germany last night. City play Villarreal in Spain in two weeks' time, a game they must win before they go to Naples on 22 November for a crucial match against the Italians.

Mancini said: "I hope the win will be very important. It was important to win our first game in the Champions League and I think anything can happen in this group in terms of first place. We go to Villarreal in 15 days and it will be very important because they are a good team and play football very well.

"Yes, 100 per cent [the Napoli game is the decisive one]. I think that game will be very important. Before this we will play the game in Villarreal but the game in Naples will be the crucial game. First place is open in the group."

The club denied there had been a fight between Aguero and Villarreal players in the tunnel after the match. Aguero later tweeted that he had not "mocked" any of his opponents after the match.

Having reacted to Aguero's winner with an uncharacteristically demonstrative celebration, Mancini said that his team had missed too many chances. "When you have one chance you must score because if you don't the game can go the other way," he said. "We deserved to win this game. Villarreal played on the counter-attack and anything can happen, one goal could finish the game, so because of this it is important to score and take your chances.

"Playing in the Premier League takes a lot of strength and energy and after three days to play in Champions League is very hard. Last year we wanted this, to play in the Champions League and improve as a team. Every team that has played in the Champions League for years doesn't have this problem. The the first year is hard but we want to do it and stay on this stage."

One of the game's turning points, just before City equalised through an own goal by Carlos Marchena, came when Mancini substituted Adam Johnson with five minutes of the first half remaining. The England international looked furious as he came off but Mancini said it was necessary to alter the shape of his team.

He said: "We were conceding four or five counter-attacks and didn't have many players in the middle. I wanted to move Yaya [Touré] behind Edin [Dzeko]. Adam played very well but at it was a tactical substitution.

"I spoke with him and he understood. Sometimes every manager can decide if the team needs a tactical sub and unfortunately players have to leave the pitch and will be disappointed, but Adam is a very important player for us."

City are expected to announce either today or tomorrow what the nature of their charges are against Carlos Tevez for his actions during the previous Champions League game against Bayern Munich. Mancini refused to discuss the situation last night, Ahead of the derby with Manchester United on Sunday, he said the win last night was important. "It's good for our confidence and important to go there and do well because it will be very hard."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food