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Mancini delays City cull

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11 May 2010 08:52:57

City's anticipated bloodbath may not be as gory as some fans expect. Roberto Mancini is expected to wield the axe after being given the solid backing of the club's owners to transform the club in his own image. But the added pressures of the Europa League may mean that Mancini prefers to indulge in some prudent pruning rather than a bout of wild lopping and hacking. That will see Patrick Vieira offered a new one-year contract - and the Blues are also considering a 12-month extension for fellow veteran Sylvinho. City will effectively need two teams next season, the core of one side required for the prime objective of scaling the Premier League heights, the other being charged with serving the club's apprenticeship in European football, as well as chasing the two domestic cups. Should City emulate Fulham - who play Atletico Madrid in the Europa Cup final in Hamburg this week - they will play 13 games in Europe's "other" competition. And with a maximum of 12 ties in the Carling and FA Cups, the pursuit of glory in the knockout competitions will be almost as taxing on playing resources as the league schedule. That demanding fixture list could bring a reprieve for some players who might otherwise have been expected to gracefully bow out in the summer. Top of that list are Vieira and Sylvinho, two players with vast European experience, and both of whom will sit down in the next fortnight to talk to the club about staying for another year. Noises Manager Mancini has already made encouraging noises about the prospects of those two veterans - who turn 34 and 36 respectively in the summer - being offered an extension to deals which expire this summer. Vieira has made it clear he wants to extend his Eastlands stay. He said: "I want to help the club continue to improve, and get Champions League football. "We need to talk, and hopefully there might be something. "I want to stay and the club wants me to stay, so that is a good start." Vieira came to City in the transfer window from Inter Milan, planning to help the push for Champions League football and play his way into France's World Cup plans. But he missed the first month through injury and then served a three-match ban for a retrospective red card in the 1-1 draw at Stoke in February. That means he has played 14 times, five of them from the bench, and has only shown flashes of his ability. That may not be enough when France head coach Raymond Domenech names his 23-man squad for South Africa today. Sylvinho appeared to have been named in the City team on Sunday for the last match of the season as a farewell gesture. But afterwards, Mancini revealed his selection was a "technical choice", saying that Wayne Bridge was not injured. Bridge travelled with the squad but was not named on the subs bench, even though fellow left-backs Javier Garrido and 19-year-old Greg Cunningham were. Asked whether Sylvinho would still be at the club next season, Mancini replied: "He is a fantastic man and fantastic player who always works very well. He is important for us and next season we will see." The need for more bodies next season could also be decisive when it comes to dealing with a knot of players who have found life under Mancini frustrating. Academy products Stevie Ireland, Nedum Onuoha, Micah Richards, Shaun Wright- Phillips and Vladimir Weiss have all been unhappy at finding their chances restricted. Value All of them are being eyed by other Premier League clubs, but City are mindful of the fact that eight of the 25-strong List A squad they must register with Uefa have to be products of an English club - and four of those must be from City. Up-and-coming fringe players like Dedryck Boyata, Greg Cunningham, Abdi Ibrahim and Alex Nimely will all be eligible for City's limitless List B squad - which aims to encourage clubs to involve under-21 players. The club's owners are also keen to keep hold of Academy products, placing great value on home-grown players. To allow an exodus of those players would send out the wrong message to the next generation of City youngsters, and remove some of the fabric of the club. The two "teams" which Mancini is likely to use would also be fluid, although front-line players like Carlos Tevez and Gareth Barry would be used sparingly, if at all, in the early stages of the competition. City will take the Europa League seriously, as an opportunity to win silverware, as an "apprenticeship" in European football, and as a means of improving their Uefa co-efficient, which would help them to be seeded if they reach the Champions League next season. Vieira believes the competition will be a European training ground for City's younger stars. "When I was at Arsenal we started in the Uefa Cup, and got to the final. "After that we have played Champions League football every year. Maybe City need to go that way to become one of the great clubs in this country." | Submit Comments| Comments (102)| PrintWhat's this? Emaildel.icio.usDiggredditFacebookStumbleUponNewsvineGoogle BookmarksNetscapeTechnoratiWindows LiveYahoo! MyWebMa.gnolia


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