Champions League

City strikers must sharpen up

2015-09-16 12:53
Raheem Sterling (AP)

Manchester - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said his team would have to improve the efficiency of their finishing after a 2-1 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 for clinical late strikes by Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata to earn the visitors victory.

Raheem Sterling was twice thwarted by Gianluigi Buffon, while Wilfried Bony, deputising for the injured Sergio Aguero, struggled to make an impact, and 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 Pellegrini, 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.

"If you have good chances and you don't score, maybe Juventus didn't create so many (chances), but they had a good finish."

Buffon first denied Sterling in the second minute and then produced a double-save from Sterling and David Silva shortly after Chiellini's own goal, which was to provide a platform for Juventus' late comeback.

But Pellegrini refused to point the finger at Sterling, who was making his first Champions League appearance since his move from Liverpool.

"I don't think this result is only Raheem," said the City manager.

City have failed to go beyond the Champions League last 16 in the previous four seasons and their home form has been an integral factor, with their last 15 home games in the competition yielding just five wins.

However, having seen his side qualify from the group stage despite failing to win their first home games in each of the last two seasons, Pellegrini said there was no cause for alarm.

"I don't think we need to learn from other years," said the Chilean, whose team lost 3-1 to Bayern Munich in their first group game in 2013 and drew 1-1 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. You never want to lose at home, but the group stage is just starting."

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