Mancini focusing on Europa success
- 07 December 2011 22:24
- Posted by David Clayton
Roberto Mancini is putting the disappointment of the Blues’ Champions League exit to one side and is now focusing on winning the Europa League instead.
The odds were always stacked against City, who by beating Bayern Munich 2-0, did all they could to squeeze through to the knockout stages of Europe’s elite competition.
Napoli’s 2-0 win away to Villarreal, however, meant Mancini’s side finished third with ten points – a statistic the Blues’ boss still can’t quite believe.
“With ten points, 99% of the time, you will qualify for the next phase,” said Mancini. “I think that it is incredible we have so many points yet are out.
“But congratulations to Napoli – they have one more and therefore deserve to go through. Good luck to them but now we must close this chapter, difficult though it is so soon after the game.
At this moment, it’s hard to think of anything else and I am very disappointed we are out of the Champions League
...Mancini on Blues' CL exit
“But I think we now need to concentrate on trying to win the Europa League because it will be good for this club if we can get to the final and win it.
“We need to win more trophies and get into the habit of winning these competitions because it will make us stronger as a team.
“Of course, we will now be playing matches on a Thursday which is closer to the weekend and obviously not ideal, but it is the same for everyone in the Europa League.”
The City boss believes his team will fare better next season after the experiences of this campaign, adding that it was a steep learning curve in what proved to be a very difficult group.
“We know we must improve and I think we will,” he said.
“We may need to improve the strength of our squad over the next six months or so and try to win the Premier League, but I think we have to remember this was our first Champions League campaign as a club and we will be stronger for it.”