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Mancini on back foot despite win
Published : 05 Dec 2010 14:00:35
Manchester City consolidated a Champions League spot, moved to within a point of Chelsea and three off the Premier League summit and Roberto Mancini still found himself fending off talk of dressing room unrest.
Carlos Tevez's 10th goal of the season after just four minutes proved enough to see off Bolton, but the Italian was on the back foot, fending off his touchline row after the City skipper had objected to being substituted in the final stages.
"No player is happy to go off," said Mancini of Tevez. "This is normal. I want all players to be like Carlos and want to stay on the pitch. Carlos is an important player for us but at that point in the game, we needed someone taller."
That man was Mario Balotelli, who for once managed to stay out of trouble, having come to blows with Jerome Boateng barely 24 hours earlier.
"It was not a tough decision to include Balotelli," argued Mancini.
"Nothing happened on Friday. It was a normal situation that happens with every team every day.
"And Mario played well against Bolton. All he was missing were the goals."
Indeed, aside from player relationship issues, the only cause for complaint afterwards were the needless booking for Tevez and what Mancini felt was an incorrect dismissal of Aleksander Kolarov for two yellow cards that will rule them both out of next weekend's trip to relegation-threatened West Ham. Kolo Toure is almost certain to miss that game too with a calf injury.
"It seems those decisions always go against us," Mancini said about the tackle by Kolarov on Sam Ricketts which cemented his exit 11 minutes from time.
"Kolarov got to the ball first."