City play Ajax on Wednesday in the third group game of this year’s Champions League. With only one point from the first two games this is a must win match for a City team who are desperate to avoid elimination at the group stage for a second year in a row. The importance of the match is not lost on City boss, Roberto Mancini:
We need nine points from the last four games — but our only thought is three in Amsterdam. We think about only the next game after we’ve won in Amsterdam. That will be important.
I think this group is worse than last year. But we want to try to do everything we can to go to the next stage. I think we could be in the same situation as last year. A lot depends on this next game. For sure we are a better team than we were this time last year but there is still work to do.
Despite accumulating ten points in last year’s group stage, City were relying on Villarreal to pick up points against Napoli in the final group game in order to avoid elimination. That was not to be and Joleon Lescott is keen that City do not have to call in favours from other teams this time around:
We can’t rely on other people to get results for us like last year. We will go into the game on Wednesday full of confidence after today’s performance (against West Brom). People are going to say the next two games are must wins for us but I think every game from now until the end of the group stage is a must win.
After Wednesday’s game, City face Ajax and Real Madrid in Manchester during November before travelling to Germany in December to face Borussia Dortmund in the final group stage game.