Oct 02, 2014

    Shape up, City told after draw


    MANCHESTER City manager Manuel Pellegrini has urged his men to sharpen up after they were held 1-1 by Roma in their second Champions League Group E game.

    After 38-year-old Roma captain Francesco Totti cancelled out Sergio Aguero's early penalty with a goal that made him the oldest scorer in Champions League history, City had most of the play, but lacked ideas in attack.

    The hosts had 59 per cent of possession at the Etihad Stadium, but mustered only two shots on target to Roma's four, and might have finished on the losing side had goalkeeper Joe Hart not saved from Gervinho and Miralem Pjanic.

    Roma now trail group leaders Bayern Munich by two points, with City three points further back as a double-header against CSKA Moscow approaches.

    Pellegrini appeared to acknowledge that his side were being overrun in midfield when he sent on James Milner for Jesus Navas at half-time, but he said it was sloppiness, rather than tactical failings, that had hampered his team.

    "Every time you don't reach the result you want, there are a lot of different things you could do," he said after Tuesday's game.

    "Today, we weren't very accurate with our passing and when we lost the ball, maybe we didn't have enough midfielders to cover.

    "But I don't think that was the reason. The main problem was we lost many easy passes."

    Failure to win in Moscow on Oct 21 will leave the English champions at risk of a third group-stage exit in four seasons, but Pellegrini said there is no need to reach for the panic button just yet.

    "We have only one point from (a possible) six, but we're only three points behind Roma," the Chilean insisted.

    "We have 12 more points to fight for and we'll try to fight until the end to qualify."

    Another record setter in the competition on the night was Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez.

    Although no longer the first choice at Barca, he broke compatriot Raul Gonzalez's appearances record of 142 when he came on as a substitute in the second half of their game with Paris Saint-Germain.

    However, the 34-year-old was unable to help turn the gripping encounter around as the French champions prevailed 3-2 at the Parc des Princes.