Sep 17, 2015

    City must seize chances to score: Pellegrini


    MANCHESTER City manager Manuel Pellegrini said his team would have to improve their finishing after a 1-2 home defeat by Juventus in their Champions League opener.

    City created more clear-cut chances than Juventus and took a 57th-minute lead through Giorgio Chiellini's own goal, only to be beaten by the visitors through clinical late strikes by Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata.

    Raheem Sterling was twice thwarted by Gianluigi Buffon, while Wilfried Bony, deputising for the injured Sergio Aguero, struggled to make an impact. While Pellegrini was reluctant to single out individuals, he admitted that squandered opportunities had cost his team.

    "I expect that when we have chances, we must score," said the Chilean, whose side went into the Group D game after five straight wins in the Premier League. "Because in Champions League games, the differences are very slight between the teams, especially against such a strong team as Juventus."

    Buffon denied Sterling in the second minute and then produced a double-save from Sterling and David Silva shortly after Chiellini's own goal.

    City have failed to go beyond the Champions League last 16 in the previous four seasons. Their home form has been an integral factor, with their last 15 home games in the competition yielding just five wins. But Pellegrini said there was no cause for alarm.

    "I don't think we need to learn from other years," he said of the 1-3 loss to Bayern Munich in their first group game in 2013 and 1-1 draw with Roma last season.

    "In the last two seasons, we lost the first home game and in both seasons, we qualified for the next stage."

    Morata struck Juventus' 81st-minute winner after Vincent Kompany had gone off and Pellegrini revealed that his captain had injured his calf.

    In more positive news, Aguero made a late appearance as a substitute, despite having been ruled out of the game by Pellegrini due to a knee injury.

    Victory was a welcome tonic for Juventus, whose Serie A title defence has started with two defeats and a draw.

    "Perhaps it will also give the players a bit more confidence and create a good environment, so on Sunday we can try and win our first game in Serie A," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said ahead of Sunday's trip to Genoa.