Champions League: Euro defeat was not my fault, says Pellegrini

 
Ross McLean
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Mario Mandzukic levelled for City, who have never won their opening home game in the Champions League group stage
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HESTER CITY 1 JUVENTUS 2

Frustrated Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini insisted he was not outfought tactically despite his side suffering another European failure in their Champions League opener against Juventus last night.

The hosts were on course for victory when veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini headed into his own net, only for strike duo Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata to change the complexion of the clash in the final 20 minutes.

“It’s disappointing, I don’t think we deserved to lose. We had the better chances and played better than Juventus,” said Pellegrini.

“It was a typical game in the Champions League. Neither side created many chances but we had the possession and tried to score.

“But Juventus are a team that knows how to defend and have a lot of experience in the Champions League. It was not a tactical problem. We played better than Juventus.”

City appeared ready to lift the burden of never winning their opening home match of the Champions League group stage when Chiellini headed past veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon while under severe pressure from Vincent Kompany, in the 57th minute.

But after England’s most expensive player Raheem Sterling fluffed a chance with only Buffon to beat, Mandzukic stole in behind defender centre-half Eliaquim Mangala to convert a wicked cross from Paul Pogba.

Italian champions and last year’s Champions League finalists Juventus secured their first victory of the season inside the final 10 minutes as Morata curled a precise left-footed shot beyond City stopper Joe Hart from the edge of the penalty area.