Mancini apologises to Mancheser City fans & takes full responsibility for their Europa League exit

The Italian accepts he expected Sporting Lisbon to be easier than Porto, their opponents in the previous round, as his team crashed out of the Europe for the second time this term

Roberto Mancini has admitted he underestimated opponents Sporting Lisbon after Manchester City were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday night.

Sergio Aguero bagged a double and Mario Balotelli scored a penalty as City came back from 2-0 to win 3-2 on the night at the Etihad Stadium, but were eliminated on away goals after their 1-0 defeat in Portugal.

In the previous round, City beat Porto, who are 12 points ahead of Sporting in the Primeira Liga and the current holders of the tournament, and Mancini has confessed that he thought the tie would be an easier encounter.

"I made a mistake in the first game when I prepared because, after Porto, to play against Sporting I thought was maybe easy, but football is never easy,” he said.

"I'm proud for the performance, I'm disappointed for the [two] games because I think we probably didn't deserve to go out.

"But I am the manager, it is not the players fault, it is my fault. Probably I made mistakes – the players did everything on the pitch so I'm very proud.”

Roberto Mancini’s only remaining chance of silverware this season is the Premier League, where they dropped to second last weekend for the first time since October after losing at Swansea, but the manager is confident they can return to the summit.

"If we have the same spirit as we did in the second half [against Sporting] we can win the next game against Chelsea. And I am confident for the Premier League – we have stayed on the top for six months, now we are one point behind."

Goalkeeper Joe Hart, who almost won it for City against Lisbon with a dramatic injury-time header, believes the squad are still confident of winning the league title ahead of their game against Chelsea on Wednesday.

"We can take positives [from the Lisbon defeat] because we're a great side,” he said. “We are one point behind the leaders of the Premier League, we are a good team, we have nothing to worry about.

“We go into that game [against Chelsea] favourites and hopefully we will win.”

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