Mancini: Blame me for City's Euro exit, not Mario
Published 23:11 15/03/12 By David Anderson
Roberto Mancini watched his Manchester City crash out of Europe
despite a valiant comeback and said: "Blame me."
Mancini accepted full responsibility for City's Europa League exit on a night when Mario Balotelli once again lost his head.
Balotelli gave away the free-kick for Sporting's opener before scoring a penalty as City stormed back from 2-0 down to net three times in the last 30 minutes.
"Yes, I was disappointed with him because he conceded this free-kick," said the City boss.
"But it's not his fault we lost this game. I'm the manager and it is my
fault, it is not Mario's fault or other players.
"The players did everything on the pitch. I said at half-time we can go and try because in football never say never if you score two in 20 minutes.
"The second half was fantastic. I'm disappointed and I'm sorry for the supporters because they deserve to go to the next stage."
Joe Hart almost scored in stoppage time and Mancini admitted he was bemused by City's woeful first-half display.
"The first half was very strange," he said. "I don't know why, we left a lot of space for them to counter-attack, we didn't play as a team in the first half.
"We expected this, but the defenders were very far away from the wingers. We didn't do a good job in the first half and we conceded two goals.
"The second half changed everything. We scored three goals almost got a fourth in the last second, but it wasn't enough."