Victory gives Manchester City confidence says Roberto Mancini


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The Independent Football

Manchester City moved within a win of a place in the Champions League knockout stage with a convincing 3-0 victory at Villarreal last night.

Yaya Toure struck twice either side of a Mario Balotelli penalty at El Madrigal to earn back-to-back wins over the Spaniards for City and lift them to second in Group A.

City's hopes of progress had seemed likely to hinge on their trip to Napoli later this month but they will now head to the San Paolo Stadium knowing victory will make certain.

Manager Roberto Mancini said: "I think this win is important because now we have a good chance. We know everything will be in Naples.

"I think it will be an incredible atmosphere, there will be 70,000 people at the stadium.

"I think it is very difficult to play there but it is important to go there with this result.

"I don't think it was easy to win here but we played very well and after the first goal it was easier. That was really important."

City's European form has been patchy in comparison to their domestic brilliance and they had a nervy opening few minutes against injury-hit Villarreal, who gave them a stern test a fortnight ago.

They soon settled to enjoy long spells of possession but it was not until the 20th minute they created their first serious chance and they had to wait another 10 for Toure to strike.

Balotelli, making his first start in the competition this season after suspension, doubled the lead from the spot in first-half injury time after having his ankles clipped by Mateo Musacchio.

City carried their dominance into the second half and added a third when Samir Nasri and Balotelli combined to set up a second for Toure.

The only moment of worry for City was the sight of outstanding Spaniard David Silva - who got a good ovation from the home fans - leaving the field clutching his back in the second half but Mancini was unconcerned.

He said: "I don't think this is serious. He took a knock on his back.

"Also we play again in 60 hours against QPR. I think he can recover well."

The only other moment of discomfort for Mancini was a physical one as he jumped up during the first half and banged his head on the dugout roof. He was later spotted holding an ice pack to the sore area.

Mancini said: "I took a knock - the bench here is very dangerous!"

There were suggestions that Balotelli may have been a target for racist chanting at one point during the game but Mancini was unaware of them.

"I don't know this," said Mancini, who also did not know anything about a possible attempt by a fan to distract Balotelli before his penalty with a laser pen.