Roberto Mancini says Europa League is important for Manchester City

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Etihad Stadium

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini insisted the Europa League was an important target after seeing his side knocked out of the Champions League.

City beat Bayern Munich 2-0 at Etihad Stadium but Napoli's win at Villarreal ensured that Mancini's side went out.

He said: "I think that for Manchester City, [the Europa League] is an important trophy, because we need to win more trophies if possible.

"It is not the Champions League but it will be important."

Mancini's side controlled the game against Bayern but had left themselves too much to do after earlier defeats in Munich and last month in Napoli.

Goals from David Silva and Yaya Toure put City ahead and they looked set for the last 16.

However Napoli midfielders Gokhan Inler and Marek Hamsik scored in Spain to leave City set for a campaign of Thursday night action against the likes of Ajax, Valencia and Porto.

"If we can go to the final then I think for Manchester City it will be good," said Mancini.

"The Europa League is harder because we play Thursday and won't have a lot of time to recover for the games. But this will be the only difference.

"For us, this is the first time in the Champions League and the first group we got was difficult, but with 10 points it is very strange that we did not go through.

"We are disappointed because we wanted to go through in the Champions League and I am sorry for the club, for our supporters and my players because I think they deserve to play in the Champions League.

"But there is nothing we can do now.

"It is my opinion that we need to improve as a squad and to play better next year. It will be up to us to improve in the next six months."

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes - who was without a host of first-team players including Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller and Mario Gomez in Manchester - believes his side can threaten anyone in the last 16 of the Champions League.

"We were in a very difficult group and we've won it, which means we'll play away first," Heynckes said.

"With the team and squad I've got, we can beat anyone."

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