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Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Mancini: I want to be a UCL winner

Richard Jolly and ESPN staff

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says he is determined to improve his personal record in the Champions League.

The Italian helped City to their first league title for 44 years last season and made Inter Milan Serie A champions in three successive seasons during his time at the San Siro.

But although he was a European Cup finalist as a Sampdoria player in 1992, he has never gone past the quarter-finals of the Champions League as a manager. His debut campaign in the competition with City ended in a group stage exit last year.

City lost their first game of this season's competition 3-2 to Real Madrid a fortnight ago, and Mancini, whose team take on Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, is eager to do better.

"I hope I can improve my record in the Champions League and I can arrive at a time when I can win a Champions League," he said. "It is my ambition."

Mancini believes City's first objective should to be to qualify from a group containing the champions of England, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.

"We want to go to the second stage," he said. "That will be difficult. Borussia Dortmund are one of the best teams in Europe.

"They are a young team with really good players and good quality. They are really strong up front with [Marco] Reus, [Robert] Lewandowski and [Mario] Gotze. Their manager [Jurgen Klopp] is a very good manager.

"It is important to get into the second stage and after that anything can happen because we are a good team."

Mancini is still ruing the last five minutes at the Bernabeu, when Real staged a comeback to deny City all three points.

"With five minutes to go, we were 2-1 ahead and we made some mistakes," he explained. "When they scored their second goal, we went too deep and we conceded a lot of space. If you concede space to [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Karim] Benzema, you are taking risks."

City will still be without the injured Maicon and Micah Richards against Dortmund, but Jack Rodwell may be fit to make his comeback after missing the last two games.

Meanwhile, Mancini has told central defender Joleon Lescott he is still very much part of his plans despite dropping him to the bench for key games this season - including the Champions League opener in Madrid.

Lescott, a key part of the title-winning side, said he did not want to "rock the boat" after losing his place to deadline day signing Matija Nastasic.

Mancini praised him as "one of the best defenders" and said: "I have six or seven defenders, and I made a different choice last week [at Fulham] and in Madrid.

"Tomorrow I will decide again - but Joleon is an important player for us.''




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