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
"If you have good chances and you don't score, maybe
Juventus didn't create so many (chances), but they had a good finish."
Also read: Pellegrini: Iheanacho's the reason I didn't replace Edin Dzek
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 44 million ($67.5
million, 59.9 million euros) 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."
- 'Extraordinary' Buffon -
Morata struck Juve's 81st-minute winner, a fine, curling
effort from the edge of the box, after Vincent Kompany had gone off and
Pellegrini later 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, and the manager is hopeful he will be fit to face West Ham United
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri hailed the role that
Buffon, 37, had played in his side's victory.
"How long can he play for? I don't know. As long as
possible, I hope. Certainly as long as I'm manager here," he said.
"I'm not sure I can find the right adjective to
describe him. Extraordinary, maybe. He's perhaps the best goalkeeper ever, in
the history of football. He never stops astounding us."
Victory was a welcome tonic for Juventus, whose Serie A
title defence has started with two defeats and a draw, and Allegri hopes it
will spark an upturn in their domestic fortunes, beginning with Sunday's trip
"To turn things around you need the will and the desire
to do so," he said.
"Perhaps we've been getting bit anxious, a bit hasty,
but ultimately you need to be calm and take your time.
"Tonight's (Tuesday's) victory puts us in a good
position. We've already got three points, so Manchester are chasing us.
"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."For
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