Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has slammed the surface of the Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium after his side drew 0-0 with Aris Thessaloniki on Tuesday.
Mancini’s side were frustrated in their goalless outing in Greece and although City now just need a home victory to progress through to the Europa League’s Round of 16, the Italian was still annoyed with the state of the pitch.
“I think that we had control of the game but on this pitch it was very difficult to play football,” Mancini told ITV.
“I think that if we scored a goal in the first half when we had a chance with (Edin) Dzeko, everything would change but after they defended with nine or 10 players behind the ball it was very difficult.”
City’s big-money January signing Dzeko made his first European start for the club and, although he had chances, inevitably failed to get on the scoresheet.
The 27 million-pound arrival from Wolfsburg played up front with Argentine Carlos Tevez, and Mancini believes the duo need time to get the best out of their relationship.
“I think that it’s the second or third time they’ve played together, I think they need to gel. They need to play more games,” he said.
“It would be better if we won this game, we tried but it was difficult because they defended very well but we’ve got another game and I think that was a good result.”
Mancini also believes the City of Manchester Stadium pitch will help his players in the second leg, on February 24.
“We’ll have a good pitch (in the second leg) and we can play better football because we can play with the ball on the floor, it was impossible. I think it will be another game,” he said.