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Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini blamed his own pre-match preparations for Wednesday night's shock Champions League defeat at Ajax.
City are now on the verge of being eliminated from the group stages after slumping to a 3-1 defeat at the Amsterdam Arena, with goals from Siem de Jong, Niklas Moisander and Christian Eriksen making Samir Nasri's opener obsolete.
"They played better than us, they played better football," Mancini told Sky Sports.
"It was probably my fault because I prepared badly for this game, I didn't prepare the players and I'm at fault for the defeat.
"When you prepare for a game sometimes it is a different to what you expect.
"We played a bad game. We had a few chances to score but the players didn't really play well."
The Blues have only one point for their troubles, and Mancini believes qualification will now be a bridge too far given the poor return on performances against Ajax, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid.
"It's very difficult. There's one team with seven points, one team with six and one with three," he added.
"It will be a miracle."
Micah Richards admitted his team-mates were not accustomed to switching between three and five at the back throughout the match.
"It's not something that we've worked on a lot, we're just used to a back four," the defender also told Sky Sports.
"But the manager likes it and if we want to do well with it then we'll have to work harder on it.
"It's a hard system and I think the players prefer a 4-4-2 but he's the manager and we'll do what he says.
"When we got drawn in this group we knew it was going to be a tough one
"We're disappointed today, we thought we would come here and get the three points but it wasn't to be.
"No disrespect to Ajax but we expected to come here and win, we'll look to the next game and see what we can do."