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Mancini blames himself for Manchester City's defeat

Premier League champions Manchester City are on the brink of making an early exit from the Champions League. A 3-1 defeat to Ajax in the Amsterdam Arena leaves them hoping for a miracle in order to progress.

City needed a win in Holland, and got off to the ideal start when Samir Nasri gave them a first-half lead. City failed to capitalise on their advantage though and appeared listless when Ajax came back at them. The Dutch team equalised at the end of the first half and scored twice more in the second half.

Manager Roberto Mancini blamed himself. "I prepared badly for this game," Mancini said. "I didn't prepare the players and I'm at fault. When you prepare for a game sometimes it is a different to what you expect. Sometimes you think the game goes one way and it goes another. We played a bad game. We had a few chances to score but the players didn't really play well."

The manager tried three different formations during the game and his team looked disjointed. Defender Micah Richards questioned the switch to a 3-5-2 formation in the second half. "It's a hard system and I think the players prefer 4-4-2 but he's the manager and we'll do what he says," Richards said.

City are now bottom of their group with just one point. Mancini conceded that qualification was extremely unlikely. "It's going to be very difficult for us now," Mancini said. "There's one team with seven points, one with six and one with three. If we win the last three games it will be very close. But it's difficult. It will be a miracle."

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