Gareth Barry has dismissed claims that Manchester City’s poor performances in Europe are due to the club’s inexperience in the Champions League.
The England international has admitted that the Citizens have been simply “found out” by other top European clubs. Man City are currently rock bottom of Group D with just one point from three games.
Tonight, the Premier League Champions take on Ajax, who beat the Manchester club in a resounding 3-1 victory at the Amsterdam Arena on their last Champions League outing.
The poor performance lead to criticism of City boss Roberto Mancini, partly due to his decision to use a 3-5-2 system to little effect for short periods during the match. Pressure on the Italian coach has since continued, with speculation over his future at the club following the appointment of Txiki Bergiristain as Director of Football at Eastlands.
Whereas some pundits have blamed Roberto Mancini for City’s poor European performances, others have cited the Sky Blues’ inexperience and lack of history in the Champions League, despite many of the squad having individual experience in the tournament for previous employers.
Gareth Barry however, has rejected that notion, telling reporters: “We’re certainly not using that [inexperience] as the main excuse. We are finding it tough to put our finger on exactly why it has been tough.
“It is quite clear that we have not produced our best performances against the quality of opposition that are in the Champions League and, when it comes to these games, when you’re not producing your best you get found out. That seems to be what has happened.
“We have been punished on nights when we have not been top of our game.”
City are now all but eliminated from qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Champions League, with three games left to recover a five point gap between themselves and second place Real Madrid.
To stand any chance of progressing in the tournament, the Citizens must claim all three points in tonight’s fixture against Ajax.
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