Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

City's Title Pointer ; Mancini's Priority Is to Get Mis-Firing Blues Back on Target for Sunday Showdown

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

City's Title Pointer ; Mancini's Priority Is to Get Mis-Firing Blues Back on Target for Sunday Showdown

Article excerpt

CITY head into Sunday's crunch derby with their goal machine malfunctioning. And manager Roberto Mancini admits he faces a hectic few days on the training ground in a bid to get his team firing again in front of goal.

The Blues drew a blank in Dortmund last night to finish their ill- fated Champions League campaign with another defeat, but thoughts instantly turned to the meeting with leaders United at the Etihad Stadium.

The Blues looked toothless up front, just as they did when they drew 0-0 at Chelsea, and again in the 1-1 draw with Everton last weekend - it seems to be a conundrum against better opposition.

Mancini flagged his team's goal shyness as 'a big problem', even though he was generally happy with his team's effort in Dortmund last night.

He dismissed the notion that City's Champions League performances have left them red-faced, as English champions.

He said: "It can be embarrassing if, when you play, you don't play at 100 per cent. But when you do play 100 per cent, you can lose.

"We wanted to try to get in the Europa League because that would have been another competition for us to try to win. But at this moment, if we are going to win a game we need to score.

"At the moment, that is a big problem and, unfortunately, we have to work at this.

"The big problem is that to win games you need to score. If not, you lose or the game finishes 0-0. At the moment we are not scoring a lot of goals, as we did last year. When we get chances we need to score - we need to resolve this problem if we are going to win."

But the damage to City's campaign was done in the first three games, when they collapsed after taking the lead at Real Madrid, snatched a home draw with Dortmund and then disastrously lost to Ajax in Amsterdam.

Mancini looked back on those games as the time when the Blues threw away their chances of qualifying from an extraordinarily tough group.

And he pointed to Borussia Dortmund's own transformation as an example of how the Blues could rise from the ashes of this campaign and make a real impression next time around.

Last season, Dortmund finished bottom of their group with one win from six games, even though they were in a far easier foursome along with Arsenal, Olympiacos and Marseille. …

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