Manchester City midfielder David Silva has admitted that the club's players must accept responsibility for their Champions League failure and says it is unfair for manager Roberto Mancini to be blamed.
The defending Premier League champions crashed out of the competition with just two points from six games, finishing bottom of their group and failing to make it through to the Europa League by securing third place.
Silva, however, has come to Mancini's defence and claimed it was impossible to expect City to be successful in the Champions League so quickly after rising to title contention in England.
"We're all responsible for what has happened this season. The way we played in the Champions League - we all have to take the blame for that," he told the Mirror.
"It didn't start well in the Champions League and it became an uphill task for us. It didn't happen. But you can't just blame the manager.
"I can't put my finger on what went wrong in Europe. All I can say is when I came to City they were looking to get in the top four. Since then they have won the Premier League, the FA Cup.
"People can't expect to win the Champions League straightaway. We've got very good players and we will get there. It's an ambition to win it with City but one step at a time."
Despite their European failures over the past two seasons, Silva was insistent that Mancini remained the right man for the City hot seat.
"All I would say is that since I joined City up to now we have made progress with Roberto," he added. "All there has been is progress."
City currently trail rivals Manchester United by six points at the top of the Premier League table after suffering defeat in last weekend's derby, but Silva pointed out that they had reeled Sir Alex Ferguson's team in before.
"It is a gap, it is a big gap but last year we saw how they were in front by quite a lot of points and we won the league anyway," he continued. "It can be done - the players do have the hunger to win it again so we'll go for it.
"If we did that, it would be right up there [as one of his biggest achievements]. Winning the Premier League is seen as a big thing. It would be a great achievement to retain it. I've been lucky I've won a lot of medals but I'd still like to win more."
Silva hopes, too, that fellow Spaniards Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, who have joined the club as chief executive and general manager respectively, can help City to become a force on the level of Barcelona, where the duo oversaw the rise of a side that is widely considered to be one of the greatest of all-time.
"They were part of a club which won every title there was to win in both Spain and in Europe," he enthused. "They were part of a very successful era at Barca. Hopefully that's what they are bringing here and we can do something similar.
"We hope one day we'll be able to be a club that is talked about like Barcelona. It's hard to say we're close because we went out of the Champions League but it's a question of working at it and trying to make more of an impact in Europe."