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Mancini is lucky! Madrid would've sacked me for Euro failure - Mourinho

JOSE MOURINHO feels he would have been out of a job had he presided over a similar failure to the one experienced by Manchester City and their manager Roberto Mancini last night.

Together with Borussia Dortmund in Group D, Mourinho's Real Madrid will take their place in the Champions League last 16 following their 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium last night.

It is the very minimum demanded by the hard-to-please media pack who follow the Spanish giants and with whom Mourinho has such a spiky relationship.

"I admire the fact that clubs support their manager," said Mourinho.

"City is out of Champions League. But Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are very good teams and we knew a big team would be out.

"It is good that it was City because Roberto can work without any kind of problem I believe.

"If it was Real Madrid, the press wouldn't let me return to Madrid."

City's exit could have a nasty postscript after skipper Vincent Kompany left the Etihad Stadium on crutches. He took a knock during the second half and, although he was able to complete the game, the Belgian was not moving freely.

Damage

Mancini can only hope Kompany has not sustained too much damage, particularly with a visit to Chelsea looming on Sunday.

"The opportunity to claim our place at the top of European football will come again," said Kompany on Twitter.

"No sad faces, just the hunger to improve."

Mancini is certain he will get the chance to implement new plans too, despite a second successive group stage failure.

Although Roberto Di Matteo has been sacked despite winning the Champions League last season, it seems his fellow Italian is operating from a sturdier platform.

Mancini rejected outright the notion that Sheikh Mansour would deliver a harsh judgment, saying: "No. I don't fear this. Why?

"We still have the Premier League and the FA Cup.

"If we think we can win the Champions League after two years we are crazy."

Mancini's reasoning is that City require more experience at this level before they can truly compete for the greatest prize.

"Chelsea tried to win the Champions League for 10 years," he said.

"In the best moments, when Didier Drogba was young, they didn't win.

"They did it last year when no-one thought they could.

"We need to improve our team because there are a lot of teams better than us.

"I am not saying if you get to February you can't win. Anything can happen. But we didn't do that."

Salvage

City did well to salvage a point given the pummelling they took in the opening stages.

Karim Benzema put the visitors ahead after more catastrophic City defending and Cristiano Ronaldo only failed to double the advantage because he underhit a lob over Joe Hart, allowing Matija Nastasic to clear off the line.

Sami Khedira also failed to profit from two gilt-edged chances provided by Ronaldo.

There was an element of good fortune about City's equaliser too.

Former Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa was harshly judged to have fouled Sergio Aguero in the area.

Arbeloa was red carded, with Aguero dispatching the spot-kick to give City hope that ultimately went unfulfilled.


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