Victory gives Manchester City confidence says Roberto Mancini
Thursday 03 November 2011
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.
Latest in Sport
Berbatov flees Bulgaria following kidnap threat
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund player ratings: Who was the star man at the Emirates? Alexis Sanchez? Santi Cazorla? Or Yaya Sanogo?
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Per Mertesacker delighted with defensive display
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund match report: Yaya Sanogo and Alexis Sanchez on target as Gunners secure impressive victory
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 2 Ridley Scott on Exodus: Gods and Kings casting: 'I'm not going to get it financed if my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such'
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict