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Roberto Mancini is hoping luck is on Manchester City FC's side as they attempt to revive their ailing UEFA Champions League fortunes against AFC Ajax. The City manager believes a combination of mistakes and profligacy in front of goal have undermined his team's Group D campaign, which took a turn for the worse when they lost 3-1 to Tuesday's opponents last time out. Frank de Boer wants his Ajax team to express themselves, meanwhile, stating: "It is not in our nature to play defensively."
Roberto Mancini, manager
It is our second year in the Champions League and so we probably need more experience – not as players, because we have some who have played in the Champions League many times, but as a team. We also need some luck, because this group is very difficult and we made some mistakes in the games against Madrid and Ajax.
Our first home game was against Borussia Dortmund and we probably didn't deserve a point, but against Madrid and Ajax we had a lot of chances to close the game and to score goals. We had the chance to win, but instead we didn't take any points. But that changes nothing.
I said after the West Ham game [on Saturday] that if we say we are ready to win the Champions League that is not true – we need to improve. There are other teams that have played in this competition every year. We need to improve our team. We have the same team as last year, but the problem that we have had in the first two or three months is that we had seven or eight players injured.
Saturday: West Ham United FC 0-0 Manchester City
Hart; K Touré, Kompany, Nastasić, Clichy; Nasri (Sinclair 90), Y Touré, Barry; Džeko, Balotelli (Agüero 69), Tévez (García 84).
• City failed to score for the first time since 8 April. Mancini's team have gone 202 minutes in all competitions without conceding a goal, though.
Micah Richards is out for up to four months with a knee injury sustained in the 1-0 win against Swansea City AFC on 27 October, while David Silva (hamstring) is also unavailable. Joleon Lescott (back) and James Milner (hamstring) are doubts
Frank de Boer, coach
All the teams in this group want to be playing Champions League football after the winter break. But, of course, Manchester City want to get nine points from their remaining matches. We will try to get a result here.
We are not going to throw it all open but it is not in our nature to play defensively. We want to show how we play at Ajax, whether we are at home or away.
City have a lot of quality. They have four terrific defenders and two defensive midfielders in front of these defenders. And the strikers have a lot of quality, although they will definitely miss David Silva. But they will still have some big names on the pitch.
I said before the game against Manchester City in Amsterdam that if we play our own game we can make it very difficult for anybody. We really have to believe. I want to see players that play bravely. Maybe it makes you a quality player if you play your best games under the highest pressure, and hopefully a lot of players will do that tomorrow.
Saturday: Ajax 0-2 Vitesse (Bony 38 46)
Vermeer; Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Denswil, Blind; De Jong, Poulsen (Fischer 57), Schøne; Sana (Boerrigter 65), Eriksen, Babel.
• Vitesse condemned Ajax to their first defeat in 25 Eredivisie matches. They had won 18 games and drawn six since a 2-0 home loss to FC Utrecht on 5 February.
Niklas Moisander, suspended against Vitesse, was replaced by league debutant Stefano Denswil. Nicolai Boilesen (hamstring), Kolbeinn Sigthórsson (shoulder), Thulani Serero (groin), Davy Klaassen (groin) and Jody Lukoki (knee) are all sidelined.
Ajax ended a 40-year wait for an away victory over English opponents when beating City's neighbours Manchester United FC 2-1 in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32.
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