Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Learn Quickly or Risk Failure Is Mancini's Euro Message

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Learn Quickly or Risk Failure Is Mancini's Euro Message

Article excerpt

Byline: Phil Medlicott

MANCHESTER City boss Roberto Mancini feels his team must improve quickly if they are to qualify for the Champions League knockout rounds - but believes they do have it in them to go on and win the competition.

City, beaten 3-2 by Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in their Group D opener on September 18, are looking to get their European season kick-started tonight when they take on German champions Borussia Dortmund at the Etihad Stadium.

With Dortmund having begun with a 1-0 win over Ajax, the pressure is on the Blues to secure all three points if they are to avoid a repeat of their maiden Champions League campaign last term, which ended in failure to qualify from another difficult group.

While acknowledging the club are relatively inexperienced at this level, Mancini accepts there is a considerable weight of expectation on big-spending City to make major strides on the European stage, and he has stressed the importance of his players swiftly cutting out the kind of mistakes he felt allowed Real to come from behind to snatch victory against them.

The Italian is optimistic, though, that if City do manage to up their game and make it beyond the group stage, there is no reason why they cannot then go all the way.

"This is the second year for us in the Champions League and the second year that we got the worst group," said Mancini, whose side host Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday.

"Like we have improved (over the years) in the Premier League, we need time to improve in the Champions League, but we don't have a lot of time - only five more games, and we need to improve quickly.

"We need to not concede easy goals to drop points like we did against Real Madrid.

"If we want to go through, we need to improve very quickly."

Asked if he felt he was still learning about Champions League football on a personal level, Mancini - who guided City to the Barclays Premier League title last season and won Serie A three times as Inter Milan boss but is yet to claim a trophy in Europe as a manager - said: "I don't need to learn.

"The Champions League is a difficult competition, but football is the same. …

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