No consolation prize for Mancini’s men

Borussia Dortmund 1 Manchester City 0
Julian Scheiber struck to condemn Manchester City’s dismal Champions League campaign to a suitably sorry end in Dortmund.

The Premier League champions already knew they could not progress from Group D but had been looking to secure a consolation place in the Europa League.

With Ajax losing at Real Madrid that possibility was open to them, but it proved beyond Roberto Mancini’s men as Schieber hit the only goal of a subdued affair at the Westfalenstadion just before the hour.

Manager Roberto Mancini said the failure to qualify for the Europa League had to be seen as a disappointment despite the fact it could help his side retain their Premier League title in the long run.

“We lost our qualification tonight,” he said. “We lost it before tonight, we tried (to qualify) but we’re missing more players. We had the chance to score but if in these moments you don’t score it’s difficult to win...

“We are not in the Europa League, and for this we should be disappointed.”

Asked if this might help his team in the league, he added: “This can help us for the Premier League but we don’t play in the Europa League and we wanted to try and play in the Europa League.

“This was our target tonight.”

City were missing key players last night, not least in midfield where Yaya Toure was suspended and David Silva out injured.

Mancini is hoping the return of Toure – and perhaps of Silva – can mean a much better performance against United.

“Tonight is the Champions League, Sunday is the Premier League so it is different for sure,” he said. “It will be a tough game. Hopefully we will recover some players for Sunday.”

It is the second straight year City have gone out at the group stage, and Mancini admitted his side have actually taken a step back from last year, when they were unlucky to exit with 10 points.

“I think last season we did better,” he said. “This year we had a very difficult group but if you make mistakes in the first two or three games it is difficult.”

However, he was more upbeat about City putting on a better show assuming they qualify once more next season, and cited the example of last night’s opponents.

“The Champions League can be strange,” he said. “Borussia last year went out in the group stages and like us were in fourth place, and I think this year they can win the Champions League.”

Joe Hart admitted City had only themselves to blame.

A despondent England goalkeeper said he did not know what had gone wrong with the Barclays Premier League champions’ European displays, but said: “We need to address it.”

“I think it was (there) but then they score and it disappeared,” he said.

Hart admitted City had let themselves down by finishing last in the group, no matter how tough a draw that had paired them with Real Madrid and Ajax as well as Dortmund.

“Of course we have,” he said. “We’ve not qualified, we’ve not even got in the Europa League.

“We wanted a win and we’ve let ourselves down. We wanted to do it and if that meant Europa League then great... We’ve only got ourselves to blame.”

City must now regroup for Sunday’s Manchester derby where they need a win to close a three-point gap on neighbours United at the top of the table.

However, Hart does not expect a hangover from this result.

“We’ve disappointed in Europe but been fantastic in the league so I don’t think there’s any worries about that,” he said.

“Hopefully now we can win the league and then deal with (our European form) next year.”

BORUSSIA DORTMUND: Weidenfeller, Kirch (Bittencourt 88), Hummels, Felipe Santana, Schmelzer, Grosskreutz, Gundogan, Leitner, Reus (Blaszczykowski 46), Perisic, Schieber (Lewandowski 77).

MAN CITY: Hart, Maicon, Kompany, Lescott, Nastasic, Barry, Javi Garcia, Nasri (Zabaleta 68),Tevez, Sinclair (Aguero 57), Dzeko (Balotelli 65).

Referee: Milorad Mazic (Serbia).


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