Wednesday 05 December 2012
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini insists there will be no hangover in the Manchester derby on Sunday, although he did express concerns over his side's finishing, after they were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League.
"We have five days to recover our strength, and then I don't think there will be a problem"
After succumbing 1-0 to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night, the Barclays Premier League champions accumulated just three points from the group stage.
Mancini, however, is hoping that the defeat – which means his charges also miss out on UEFA Europa League action this season – will help City focus on retaining their title, beginning with their home match against Manchester United this weekend.
"Tonight we lost the chance to qualify for the Europa League," said Mancini, "but after that, it is important that we only think about the derby. We have five days to recover our strength, and then I don't think there will be a problem."
City were undone by Julien Schieber’s 57th-minute strike and after Edin Dzeko passed up the visitors' best chance of scoring with a header straight at Roman Weidenfeller, Joe Hart was the busier of the two goalkeepers. Indeed, Mancini confessed his side’s lack of cutting edge up front was troubling him.
“If you want to win you should score," he said. "We didn’t score, at the moment we have this problem and we are disappointed because we didn’t go in the Europa League.
"We played well in the first half but it wasn’t enough. We need to work hard to improve this problem we have with the goals because to do what we continue to do is not enough."
Manchester City: Hart; Maicon, Kompany, Lescott, Nastasic; Nasri (Zabaleta 68), Sinclair (Aguero 57), Garcia, Barry; Dzeko (Balotelli 65), Tevez.
Arsenal also endured disappointment on Tuesday night as their group stage ended in an away defeat by Olympiacos to leave Arsene Wenger's team hoping for "a Christmas present" in the draw for the round of 16.
"It’s important for us to focus on the championship and get ourselves back in decent form"
Despite taking a first-half lead through Tomas Rosicky, second-half goals by Giannis Maniatis and Kostas Mitroglou ensured Arsenal finished runners-up in Group B, raising the prospect of a reacquaintance with Barcelona in the next stage of the competition.
"We have to wait for the draw but we wanted to finish first," said Wenger. "We need a good Christmas present. Some teams can get stronger until then, including ourselves.
"It’s important for us to focus on the championship and get ourselves back in decent form. We're not happy with things tonight but I'm happy with the desire of the team.”
Wenger rested a significant number of first-team regulars for the trip to Piraeus, with Saturday’s match against West Bromwich Albion in mind, but the Frenchman was encouraged by the performances of some of the younger contingent, including 20-year-old debutant Jernade Meade – a graduate of Arsenal’s youth academy.
"It was an interesting game," said Wenger. "We had a good first half and we had two or three chances to score a second goal, but we needed a second goal tonight.
"The younger players did well for an hour, that is very positive; they have the quality. We had a positive game. It was not the result we wanted but overall it was a very encouraging game."
Arsenal: Szczesny; Vermaelen; Squillaci, Jenkinson, Rosicky (Arshavin 46); Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Coquelin, Meade (Angha 83), Gervinho, Chamakh
Tuesday 4 December
Dinamo Zagreb 1-1 Dynamo Kiev
Paris St Germain 2-1 Porto
Montpellier 1-1 Schalke 04
Olympiacos 2-1 Arsenal
Malaga 2-2 Anderlecht
AC Milan 0-1 Zenit St Petersburg
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Manchester City
Real Madrid 4-1 Ajax Amsterdam
The draw for the Round of 16 takes place at 10.30 on 20 December.