Roberto Mancini believes City are still on course to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Juventus at the City of Manchester Stadium. - Manchester City FC

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Season 2010/11

Mancini backs Blues to qualify

  • 30 September 2010 23:42
  • Posted by Peter Ferguson

Roberto Mancini believes City are still on course to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Juventus at the City of Manchester Stadium.

The Blues needed a cool finish from Adam Johnson to ensure a point after Vincenzo Iaquinta beat England goalkeeper Joe Hart from outside the box to give the Serie A giants a surprise lead.

It leaves City with four points from the first two games with Lech Poznan - the Blues' next opponents - looking dangerous after following up their 3-3 draw in Turin by beating struggling Salzburg 2-0.

But Mancini said: "I am confident. For me it is a difficult group, with Poznan a good team and Juventus a good team - so it will not be easy, but I think we can go through.

"I think the draw was fair. In the second half we were not as good as we could have been near goal, but Juventus had a lot of players back in defence.    

"We can do better than that first 20 minutes, but after that I thought we played some good football. Sometimes we must move the ball quicker than we do.

"I don't know why we started so slowly. I think we thought we could control the game, but after Juventus scored the match changed. They started well, then we took over the game.

"Every game is different but you must have the same attitude, the same concentration on the pitch as we had against Chelsea."

Skipper Carlos Tevez ran himself ragged and has missed only one match so far. Mancini admitted: "If we had all our strikers available then he could stay on the bench sometimes, but we have this problem with injured players.

"It's better for us that Carlos plays until Mario Balotelli is back and Manu Adebayor is 100 per cent. Manu was available after 20 days. I'm happy with his performance. What he needs now, as a striker, is to score a goal."

Pablo Zabaleta came off at half-time with a hamstring injury, making him a doubt for Sunday's game with Newcastle, But Mancini confirmed that newly-fit Jerome Boateng was replaced because of tiredness rather than injury.

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