25th of October 2012 Author: Johnny Karp
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admitted it will take a miracle for his side to reach the Champions League last 16 after a crushing defeat at Ajax on Wednesday. The 3-1 defeat leaves the Citizens bottom of Group D on one point from three games with three matches remaining. The result leaves Ajax in third place, two points above City, with Borussia Dortmund top on seven points and Real Madrid second on six.
"It's my fault because I prepared badly for this game," said Mancini. "There's one team with seven points, one team with six and one with three. It will be a miracle." City will host Ajax on 6 November and Real on 21 November before finishing with a trip to Dortmund on 4 December.
Man City opened the scoring in Amsterdam against the run of play through Samir Nasri, but Siem de Jong levelled the score before half-time. Niklas Moisander put the Dutch champions in front after the break and Christian Eriksen's deflected shot wrapped up the win.
Mancini tried different tactics and formations while trying to turn things around and defender Micah Richards questioned the manager's approach. "Playing three central defenders is something we have not worked very much and it is the second time we have conceded after going to a back five. It is a hard system because we are not used to it. I think the players prefer a back four. But the manager likes it and if we want to do well with it then we'll have to work harder on it."
Mancini did not feel the changes of approach should have derailed his side, adding: "We changed for five minutes to three at the back, but we always have 11 players. I don't think that is important - three, four, five, six or seven defenders. If someone wants that as an excuse then OK, but it's not the reason. If you have the spirit or quality to play in the Champions League, you can play. If not, you can't. This is the problem. The tactics are not important."
Ajax coach Frank de Boer was delighted to see his side grab their first points in the Champions League this season. "This was a crucial match for both teams of course," he said. "The most important thing was to show we have confidence in our own qualities. Although City had chances I think we deserved to win this game. This is the way we want to play football and I am proud of the team. We also need to play like this against Dortmund and Real Madrid."
Bet365 have odds of 50/1 for Manchester City to win the Champions League this season, while Ajax are priced at 300/1.
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