City vulnerable in Europe
MANCHESTER City's first taste of the Champions' League was not the home win that they might have hoped for and Gareth Barry conceded that the attacking style that has made Roberto Mancini's side so attractive to watch in the Premier League can be vulnerable in Europe's top competition.
The greater openness which Mancini has encouraged in his team this season has delivered 15 goals in four games, but against Napoli, they faced a team capable of punishing them on the break.
It was Barry who conceded possession to Christian Maggio in the 69th minute who led the counter-attack in which Edinson Cavani scored the Italians' goal.
Making his Champions' League debut at the age of 30, Barry admitted that the new approach from City was susceptible to the kind of punishment that might not be expected in domestic football. Barry said: "We've been a lot more open than we were last season. There's a lot of attacking players now that the manager sends out and now and again you can get picked off on the break.
"On another day we'd have scored three or four in the first half and it would have been a different game. The first goal is always vital. If we'd have got that it would have suited us more but it won't always happen like that."
The equaliser from Aleksandar Kolarov, five minutes after Cavani's goal, meant that City, who face Fulham this weekend, secured one point from their first home game and now go to Munich to face Bayern, who started with a win over Villarreal, a week on Tuesday.
Their opening Champions' League game was never going to be easy, Barry said, but the draw with Napoli has brought the scale of their task into focus. "The fans and a lot of people perhaps expected us to go out there and roll over Napoli - it was never going to be like that," Barry said. "We know the Premier League very well but this is a different style of game and it just doesn't happen like that. As a team we learned a lot here."
A point at the very least against Bayern would ease City's situation considerably. Getting out of the hardest group in the competition will not be easy although history suggests that eight points can mean qualification when all the sides are strong enough to take points from each other. Over the three previous seasons Internazionale (2008-09) and Milan (2010-11) have both progressed in second place with eight points.
However, Spartak Moscow were eliminated from the Champions' League last season after recording nine points behind Chelsea and Marseilles. Spartak's misfortune was that the weakest team in their group, Zilina, did not pick up a single point - not a fate likely to befall Villarreal, currently last in Group A.
The City captain, Vincent Kompany, said that he believed his team could pick up points away from home. "We feel comfortable whether it's home or away and it doesn't make a big difference for us," he said. "Napoli had the draw, but it's quite possible we go to Bayern and get the victory. We are confident in that way."
Kompany added that there had been no problem with Carlos Tevez over the transferral of the captaincy. "I'm happy for him when he [Tevez] is captain and he's happy for me and so it was when Kolo [Toure] was also captain," he said. "It's something that happened naturally and not too many big words are needed. My role in the team doesn't change. The armband is something symbolic that I take great honour and great pride, but it's not something that changes my attitude towards the team."