Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mancini calls for Man City unity

Roberto Mancini
Mancini's side face West Brom on Sunday and Manchester United on Wednesday

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has called on his side to remain united after slumping to a third straight loss with defeat by Lech Poznan.

City, beaten by Arsenal and Wolves in their last two Premier League games, went down 3-1 to the Polish champions in Europa League Group A.

"We can change this only if we stay together," said under-fire Mancini.

"I'm disappointed because we didn't deserve to lose this game. At the moment, everything is against us."

City made a strong start at Stadion Miejski but failed to take a series of chances before Lech opened the scoring through Dimitrije Injac's low strike from distance.

Mancini's side hit back through Emmanuel Adebayor's close-range finish after the break and substitute David Silva volleyed against the crossbar as they pressed for a second.

But Manuel Arboleda inadvertently headed Dedryck Boyata's clearance into the net to restore Lech's advantage late on before Mateusz Mozdzen secured the points with an unstoppable drive.

The result will merely increase the pressure on Mancini, who was forced to reject claims of unrest in the camp following the defeats by Arsenal and Wolves.

"We lost the last three games but that is football, sometimes you play well, you deserve to score but you don't," stated the Italian.

"We played a good game and we had a lot of chances to win but we must continue to work.

"This is football. Probably if we play this game another 100 times we would win 90 times, maybe.

"But we must accept this. We must continue to work because sometimes you lose games you don't deserve to lose."

City first-team coach David Platt echoed Mancini's comments and insisted there was little reason to panic.

"We are totally confident in the players we have got," said the former England midfielder. "We are totally confident in their mentality and their ability to pick themselves up from a defeat like this."

Responding to claims in the media on in-fighting at Eastlands, Platt added: "There is a lot of negativity at this moment in time but it's external not internal.

"If you come into the training ground on a day-to-day basis there is no negativity there. The players don't like losing games, we don't like losing games.

"I've known for Roberto Mancini for 20 years. He puts pressure on himself to succeed. We all do.

"We have got good players at the football club that want to win and want to succeed. That's why defeats knock them down. But they put the boots back on in the morning and get back up very, very quickly."

Mancini made eight changes to the side that started at Wolves on Saturday as the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge and Joleon Lescott were recalled.

But they failed to impress against a team who have struggled in the lower reaches of the Polish league this season and sacked their manager a day before the match.

Mancini had several key players missing - including captain Carlos Tevez, Kolo Toure and Yaya Toure - but declared himself content with City's efforts.

"I'm disappointed to lose the game but I'm happy because they played a good game. It is important that we keep going," he added.

"W were missing 10 players that were at home. We have 20 good players but sometimes you can lose a game you do not deserve to lose."


City now turn their attention back to the Premier League, with a trip to West Brom on Sunday preceding the visit of local rivals Manchester United on 10 November.

The game against United at Eastlands will be one of the highest profile matches of the season.

But Platt believes his players will rise to the challenge as they seek to remain in the hunt for silverware.

"You look at it and think you have got an opportunity in the next three games to get yourself going again," he said. "Footballers have to be resilient and they have to be strong."

For Poznan manager Jose Maria Bakero, Thursday's win over City represented a remarkable start to life at the Polish champions.

He was only formally appointed on Wednesday following the dismissal of Jacek Zielinski and had only one training session with the side before the match.

And he declined to take full credit for the result, instead sharing it liberally with all concerned, including his predecessor.

"In football, you have to be lucky sometimes and we were for the goal to go 2-1 but we were better than Manchester City as a team and we deserved to win," Bakero reflected.

"I want to congratulate the team and the supporters because we did a great job. I would also like to dedicate this victory to the previous coach. I don't want to say I won or Zielinski won, we all won."

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