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Manchester City boss Mancini wary of Dynamo Kiev threat

Roberto Mancini
Mancini's side are hopeful of qualifying for next season's Champions League

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has warned his side of the "difficult" task awaiting them in the Europa League last 16 against Dynamo Kiev.

City beat Aris Salonika 3-0 to set up a meeting with the 13-time Ukrainian champions, who are also three-time European Cup semi-finalists.

"They are a big team and have a lot of experience," said Mancini.

"Kiev have always played in the Champions League and we know this will be a very difficult game."

The Ukrainians claimed a 4-0 victory over Besiktas on Thursday to win 9-1 on aggregate and cruise into the last 16.

City enjoyed a comfortable passage of their own against Greek side Aris, who held them to a 0-0 draw in the first leg but were outclassed at Eastlands.

Edin Dzeko scored two early goals and Yaya Toure struck a third in the second half as Mancini's men lived up to their billing as tournament favourites.

The Italian disposed with his usual 4-2-3-1 formation in favour of a 4-3-3 variation, with only one holding midfielder included and a forward line made up of Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.

It was an attacking move that appeared to pay dividends but Mancini warned the City fans not to expect his three big-name strikers to be deployed in tandem every match.

"I thought we did well and in the first half and I was very pleased," said the Italian, whose side have now scored 19 goals in their last five home games.

"The problem comes when we don't have the ball. If we don't close down every situation, it could be difficult for us. We can play this formation but not often, unless we improve."

Dzeko's strikes doubled his tally of two goals since a £27m move from Wolfsburg in January.

The Bosnian should have had a hat-trick after being sent through by Silva in the final minutes of the first half but hesitated and was foiled by Aris goalkeeper Michail Sifakis.

But Toure wrapped up the win to ensure City now travel to Ukraine on 10 March for the first leg of a last-16 tie featuring legendary striker Andriy Shevchenko.

Mancini claimed Balotelli is still not firing at 100% after a recent knee injury, although there were signs of improvement and the Italian did hit the post with one second-half effort.

However, with injuries already ravaging his squad, Mancini can only hope the hip problem that forced Vincent Kompany off before the break proves not to be too serious.

"We won't know what has happened until tomorrow [Friday] when we see what the situation is," explained Mancini. "We have a lot of injuries at the moment, so I hope it is not serious and he will be available for Sunday [the visit of Fulham]."

Aris coach Ioannis Michalitsios was refreshingly honest as he assessed his side's downfall, even though the Greek outfit had gone into the tie level after the first leg.

"We lost to a better team," he said. "We found ourselves two down in the first few minutes, which obviously knocked us back. Given what happened, the eventual outcome could have been a lot worse.

"In order to knock Manchester City out we needed a perfect performance and for them to make a lot of errors. That did not happen. City are a better team than most in Europe and the favourites to win the Europa League this season."



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see also
British trio set for testing ties
24 Feb 11 |  Europe
Man C 3-0 Aris Salonika (agg 3-0)
24 Feb 11 |  Europe
Europa League as it happened
24 Feb 11 |  Football
Thursday's football photos
24 Feb 11 |  Football
Aris Salonika 0-0 Man City
15 Feb 11 |  Europe


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