UEFA Champions League
October 24, 2012
Mancini has no illusions over Ajax task
Team Stat Comparison
|Ajax Amsterdam||Manchester City|
|Goals for *||1.7||1.0|
|Goals against *||3.0||2.3|
|Last 5 home||L-W-L||D-D-D|
|Last 5 away||L-D-L||L-L-L|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Ajax Amsterdam | Manchester City|
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini knows his team must toughen up to keep their Champions League quest alive.
City have made another disappointing start in the competition having collected just one point from their opening two matches in Group D.
Alarmingly, according to UEFA statistics, they have allowed 50 attempts on their own goal during their opening loss at Real Madrid and in their draw against Borussia Dortmund last time out.
It leaves them heading into the first of their back-to-back games against Ajax in the Amsterdam Arena anxious for a result.
Mancini said: "It is better that we don't concede a lot of shots, but we played against Madrid in Madrid, so it is difficult not to concede chances.
"We had a bad game against Dortmund, but it is important we don't give away so many chances to score.
"This group is very difficult. We haven't started very well, it will be a difficult game.
"People think it will be easy, but Ajax have a good young team and will play well. It is more difficult away from home.
"We can't think before the game about not winning. We have to think about winning this game.''
City found themselves in a similar situation 12 months ago after managing just one draw in games against Bayern Munich and Napoli.
They went on to beat Villarreal twice in succession but still failed to progress from the group stage despite ending it with 10 points.
That meant that, despite their status as Barclays Premier League champions, City were again seeded in a difficult group - one comprising domestic champions - this season and they must advance to improve their co-efficient.
Mancini has no doubt his players are good enough to reach the last 16 but it is a case of obtaining the results.
The Italian said: "It is frustrating. We are here and every group game is difficult in the Champions League.
"We should continue our way and if we play like this, we will win.
"We don't have experience as a club, but all of our players have Champions League experience.
"Maybe as a club, we need more experience, but we have good players and that's why we should be in the second stage.
"It is not easy because you need luck in this competition when you have the draw for the group.
"We want to play for a better seeding. We started the group so-so, but we still have a chance to go through - but we must take our chance.''
City will have to achieve their aims in Holland without playmaker David Silva, who remains out with a hamstring injury and has not travelled.
Defender Maicon and midfielders Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia are also missing.
Ajax coach Frank de Boer is not jealous of City's vast wealth.
City now find themselves among the European elite of the Champions League after a rapid rise fuelled by the millions of owner Sheikh Mansour over the past four years.
The club now have their sights set on domination and senior figures at some of the continent's biggest clubs - such as last season's opponents Bayern Munich and Napoli - have expressed their reservations about City's cash-enabled ascent.
De Boer has no problem with the money but does not necessarily want such backing himself, saying he is happy with the more modest means available to him at the Dutch champions.
The former Holland defender, one of many products of the club's famed youth system, said: "They do nothing illegal, they can do that.
"We have no money like that so we have to be inventive and creative and we try to use our academy to get good development of young players. That's how we survive.
"I like it more that way than just buying them, even though that's much easier. It's a philosophy. We have a different philosophy.''