City’s best season in decades has a hollow ring to it this morning but The Citizens must now raise themselves immediately to secure fifth place. Here’s the ‘CL Qualifier Final’ reaction…
‘I’m disappointed but I am also proud because of the job we have done and we have had a good season. We could have got the fourth position, we had the chances but football can be strange…we could have scored in the first half and that would have changed the game, but we must accept it.’
‘City finished 10th last year, this year we could be fifth and we’re in the Europa League. If we work well in the market and in pre-season we could do something special. I want to thank all the supporters as well, they were fantastic, and thank you to the players, they gave me 200%.’
Mancio wasn’t wrong there as The Eastlands faithful roared their side into this game but in the end it just wasn’t to be as The Blues went down to the better side:
‘Spurs are a good side, and in the second half when we attacked we left a lot of space for them to counter-attack. I still think we were better than Tottenham in the first half. They played the long ball for Crouch many times, and we tried to play football but they played us well.’
Summing up, City’s boss was philosophical, but determined to stay in Manchester:
‘I’m disappointed for myself, I want to work harder because I want to improve with the team. When you don’t hit your targets, you must think why that happened. To get fourth, we must work more next season. I’m confident. I think I will stay here. Why not? I have worked here five months and you don’t start from the roof but the basement. We have worked very well and we are near the roof now. I am not a magician and I don’t have a magic wand. We wanted this fourth place and we tried, just like Liverpool and Aston Villa, but this is football.’
Mancio is reknowned in Italy as a shrewd, tough man and do not be surprised if should he be given the green light from His Highness Sheikh Mansour that he offloads some of the Mark Hughes’ signings that have failed to deliver within weeks.
‘I think it was important for English football that someone got in outside of the usual four. To be honest, at the start of the season Manchester City were the only team I could possibly see breaking in. But then I couldn’t see who would drop out either. I thought Liverpool were going to be very strong this year, having lost only two games the previous season. And, realistically, the best I could see for us was a place in the top seven.’
Of course, this is a results business and Spurs, who had the tougher run-in of all four of the fourth place contenders have done brilliantly to secure the position:
‘If you look at the team I picked some people would think I was mad. We picked an attacking team and took a big gamble. We were one point in front of City; we could have played 4-5-1 but, no, we went for it. Everybody except perhaps Aston Villa plays one up now when they go away and the teams that have beaten City here – Everton and Man Utd – played one up. But I didn’t want to go that way. I said: ‘This is the same shape of team that beat Arsenal and Chelsea so now let’s do it away from home.”
And they certainly did. But City must now go to London on Sunday and put in a shift. In the cold light of day, some players will be playing for their Eastlands futures.
VMC City Video Link: Mancio Pitchside At Eastlands