Manchester City must reach Europa League to keep players happy, warns Sir Alex Ferguson

With Champions League progression out of the question, the Manchester United manager suggests that beating Borussia Dortmund is key to maintaining harmony at the Etihad Stadium
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson warns that his Manchester City counterpart, Roberto Mancini, could struggle to keep all of his players happy if they fail to qualify for the Europa League.

The Premier League champions cannot reach the knockout stages of the Champions League and still need to beat Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday if they are to finish third in their group and drop into the continent's second-tier competition.

And failure would mean a reduced number of games in which Mancini could rotate his vast squad, with his numerous big-name players expecting match time.

"The Europa League has been a failure if you look at the way our league clubs have treated it but I don't think losing is ever healthy for a big club and City need to beat Dortmund," Sir Alex told the Sunday Mirror.

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"On the one hand you can play a fresh team every week for the rest of the season if you are not in the Europa League but how do you keep all your players happy?

"They are out of the League Cup and the Champions League - and for a club of that size it means they've not got enough games to keep the momentum and the interest going.

"I don't know enough about City's players. I've not worked with any of them, apart from Carlos Tevez. But sometimes players want to play every game.

"I've got that with Wayne Rooney. If he misses one or two games it takes him three games to get back. Some players have to play every week. It's a fact.

"Yes, you'd have them fresh for league games and you would have more time for training, but you would have to deal with the fact that you've not got European football. Every manager wants to do well in Europe - I do, anyway."