City struggle to make Napoli point but Mancini keeping the faith
MANCHESTER City boss Roberto Mancini expects his team to improve after their Champions League debut ended in a frustrating draw against Napoli last night.
City needed a 74th-minute free-kick from left-back Aleksandar Kolarov to secure a share of the spoils in their much-anticipated Group A opener at the Etihad Stadium.
For all their offensive might, City were susceptible to the counter-attack throughout and were eventually punished when Edinson Cavani finished a classic breakaway move after 69 minutes.
City did squander numerous chances, hitting the woodwork through Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero, but Napoli also hit the bar and their speed and resilience highlighted the step up in intensity Mancini's men face.
Mancini expects lessons to be learned ahead of a testing second game in the competition away at Bayern Munich. The Italian said: “I think we can do better in Munich because it
is the second game. This game was important for us and I think we were nervous, all the club was so nervous.
“I think we played very well in the first half but in the first 15 minutes of the second half we conceded a lot of space to Naples. They were really dangerous and they scored a goal.
“We can't concede goals like this. For 10 minutes we left a lot of space. After that I was happy with our performance – as in the first half – when we played very well.”
City, with in-form Edin Dzeko back in the side after being rested last
weekend, often looked dangerous in possession.
Dzeko fired one good chance wide and Toure started a scintillating counter-attack which ended with him thumping the ball against the bar.
Napoli proved equally dangerous on the break, however, with Ezequiel Lavezzi skipping through to hit the bar and Christian Maggio bursting clear to set up Cavani's strike.
Aguero went close to levelling when he struck the post from a Samir Nasri cross but Kolarov, who broke his nose during the game, found the net with a curler from outside the area.
Mancini added: “I think it is important for us to play simple football. If we play simple I think we can play better, score goals and not concede any chances.”
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri said: “I was very happy when we went 1-0 up and very happy with the team in the second half.
“We could have gone one further and won, which we were obviously all hoping for, but City are a great team.”