MANCHESTER City manager Roberto Mancini admitted errors from his side cost them a famous victory away to Real Madrid and insists that a lack of Champions League experience is no longer an excuse for the failings.
Goals from substitutes Edin Dzeko and Aleksander Kolarov meant the Premier League champions retained the lead with just five minutes to go before Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winner, added to Marcelo’s and Karim Benzema’s equalisers, gave Real a valuable victory that cast doubt on City’s European potential.
“I don’t want us to continue to defend like this and we did a mistake like that,” said Mancini. “When it was 2-1 we should have continued to play high like we did in the second half.
“We are disappointed. I think in the first half we did not play well but in the second half we did and when you score two goals here and go 2-1 up, you should pay more attention.
“We can’t continue to talk about experience, we have good players playing in their national team and play lot of games. I am happy for our performance in second half and need to improve but we should be disappointed as we lose these points.
“I think the other teams will lose here. We have five games and it is important we beat Dortmund at home next, will be difficult as they are a top team but this year we want to go through.”
Following a poor start to the season, Real were under considerable pressure to get a positive result and manager Jose Mourinho acknowledged that their victory came as a relief.
“We were low on confidence, lacking self-belief,” he said. “[But] this is the DNA of last year’s team. It is an important step in a difficult group.”
After a high-tempo first half remained goalless, Dzeko’s 63rd minute goal came from a counter attack led by the influential Yaya Toure that ended when the striker slotted the ball beyond Iker Casillas.
Marcelo equalised 12 minutes later when his shot deflected off of Javi Garcia and over Joe Hart’s dive after cutting in from the left wing, and though Kolarov curled City back in front from a somewhat fortuitous free-kick, the victory was not to be.
Karim Benzema equalised again with a classy, calm finish before Ronaldo cut into City’s penalty area to fire the Real’s winner in at the last.