Man City v Newcastle reaction

BY foxsports • November 19, 2011

City take on Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday, knowing they must win in order to seal a place in the knockout phase and avoid a nervous last-day encounter with Bayern Munich. They warmed up with a decent 3-1 win over Newcastle, which ended the Magpies' unbeaten record and maintained their own advantage at the top of the Premier League. However, despite a couple of penalties from Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero either side of a Micah Richards effort, Mancini still found room for complaint. "I know what we can find more in Naples," said Mancini. "Naples this season are playing very well at home. If we want to win in Naples, we should play better than we did this afternoon." Still, City came out on top by adding another three goals to their impressive tally, with Balotelli and Aguero taking their seasonal tallies to eight and 11 respectively. It is a measure of Mancini's new-found confidence in Balotelli that he allowed him to take City's first penalty, after Ryan Taylor had handled Yaya Toure's shot. "With the penalties, Mario is fabulous," he said. "It is impossible that he misses. I don't know why. He shoots very well. "Mario is a very important player for us. He is a great player and is getting better and better. "I am trying to help him because I don't want him to waste his talent and to make sure he can become the player he can become. "The rest is down to him and he is doing very well." City are yet to drop a point on home soil this season and, despite Mancini's concerns, look well placed to come through a difficult week that concludes with a trip to Liverpool next Sunday. For Newcastle it was a case of what might have been. Demba Ba's shot was repelled by Joe Hart when the score was still goalless, then Hatem Ben Arfa - making his first Premier League start since breaking his leg in a tackle with Nigel de Jong during the corresponding fixture last season - fired against a post just as the visitors looked like they might be able to haul themselves back from two goals down. "It is not a relief, I was frustrated at the end," said Newcastle boss Alan Pardew at his side's first defeat of the season. "I didn't think the officials had bad games and I have no complaint with either penalty but it was one of those days when nothing seemed to go for us. "When you play the top teams, you want all your players available and want to play your best team. We didn't have that. "Manchester City are the best side we have played by some distance."

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