Mancini takes blame for Manchester City's defeat at Ajax

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has taken the blame for his side’s poor performance in their shock 3-1 Champions League defeat at Ajax on Wednesday night.

The Italian, who will be feeling the pressure as his side stare down the barrel of early elimination from the competition for the second year running, told Sky Sports 2 that his poor preparation for the game was responsible for the defeat.

“They played better than us, they played better football. It was probably my fault because I prepared badly for this game, I didn’t prepare the players and I’m at fault for the defeat.

“When you prepare for a game sometimes it is a different to what you expect. We played a bad game. We had a few chances to score but the players didn’t really play well.

“It’s very difficult. There’s one team with seven points, one team with six and one with three,” he added. “It will be a miracle.”

Mancini switched between three and five at the back a number of times throughout the match, but the tactic seemed to cause more confusion among his own players than among the opposition. Speaking afterwards defender Micah Richards tried to explain: “It’s not something that we’ve worked on a lot, we’re just used to 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. It’s a hard system and I think the players prefer a 4-4-2 but he’s the manager and we’ll do what he says.

“When we got drawn in this group we knew it was going to be a tough one. We’re disappointed today, we thought we would come here and get the three points but it wasn’t to be.

“No disrespect to Ajax but we expected to come here and win, we’ll look to the next game and see what we can do.”