Blame me for Man City’s Europa League exit, says Roberto Mancini
Roberto Mancini accepts the blame for Manchester City's early exit from the Europa League against Sporting Lisbon on Thursday
Roberto Mancini has accepted the blame for Manchester City’s Europa League exit after Sporting Lisbon made it through to the last eight on away goals at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday.
City had suffered a 1-0 defeat in Portugal, and Mancini’s side looked set to be eliminated from the competition after first half goals from Mathias Fernandez and Ricky van Wolfswinkel put the visitors 3-0 up on aggregate.
But the Premier League outfit fought back in the second half as Sergio Aguero scored a brace and Mario Balotelli netted a penalty to edge City ahead on the night – but the home side were unable to find the crucial winner.
“I’m disappointed because I might have made mistakes, and I’m sorry to the supporters,” said Mancini. “The players did everything, and fought on the pitch.
“When a manager doesn’t prepare well for the game, this happens. When I lose a game I think about why I lost and think about where I made mistakes.”
Mancini appeared to argue with Balotelli after the Italian striker conceded a 33rd minute free-kick which was converted by Fernandez.
But the 47-year-old refused to blame the striker after the defeat – and admitted it was City’s lacklustre first-half performance that cost his side a quarter-final place.
“I think the first half was very strange,” he added. “We left them too much space on the counter-attack and didn’t play as a team. We expected the counter-attack and didn’t do a good job in the first half.
“We could have scored the fourth after scoring three.
“I was disappointed [with Balotelli] after conceding the free-kick, but sometimes it is my fault as the manager, not the player’s fault.”