Mancini rues missed opportunity
Roberto Mancini fears Manchester City's failure to qualify for the Champions League will cost them any chance of signing Fernando Torres. Mancini, whose side drew 1-1 with West Ham in the final match of the season on Sunday, admitted in April that Manchester City need to sign "top players" - and he rated Torres in that bracket along with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. Reports have linked Manchester City and Premier League champions Chelsea with moves for Liverpool's Spanish striker valued at up to £70million. But City will have to settle for Europa League football next season after their hopes of breaking into the top four were wrecked by Wednesday night's home defeat to Tottenham. Asked whether the club can still attract top players like Torres in those circumstances, Mancini said: "I don't think so. If we finished in the top four, it would be better and easier to attract them. "In this situation it is different. There are probably some players who want to play in the Champions League and not in the Europa League. "But there are a lot of players in Europe who will want to play for Manchester City next year. "It will be an important squad for us next season. We won't playing in the Champions League but we must try to win the other competition and finish in the top four in the Premier League. "I think we are a good team but if we want to play for the top of the table we must improve. We now have time to buy some players and strengthen some positions." Mancini attributed Craig Bellamy's absence against the Hammers to an ankle injury and also played down suggestions of a falling out with Carlos Tevez. "Everything is fine with Carlos," said Mancini. City's owners have confirmed Mancini will remain in charge at Eastlands next season, despite missing out on Champions League football. West Ham's owners David Gold and David Sullivan have made no such assurances to their manager Gianfranco Zola after a turbulent season at Upton Park. The Italian is contracted to West Ham until 2013 - but will meet with Gold and Sullivan on Tuesday to thrash out his future. Zola admitted the off-field distractions at West Ham this season had led him to fall out of love with football for the first time in his life. West Ham were forced to sell key players like James Collins to raise cash before Gold and Sullivan stepped in to save the club from plunging into administration. Zola then clashed with Sullivan for writing an open letter to supporters, in which he described West Ham's performance in the defeat to Wolves as "pathetic" and "shambolic". Last week, Zola told Sullivan and Gold that conducting transfer dealings behind the manager's back was no way to run a football club. Zola discovered through the newspapers that West Ham had bid for West Brom midfielder Graham Dorrans and that Sullivan had made every squad member available for sale, bar Scott Parker. "It's been a long, tiring and exhausting season for us. All of the staff have been under a lot of pressure," said Zola. "We wanted to give something different but circumstances, mistakes and other things didn't allow us to do that, to give to the team what we wanted to give. "There were moments when it was tough for us. For me personally, football has always been a joy, always a pleasure. "I played until I was 39 and never considered it as a job or a difficult thing to do. "But this year, because of all the pressure around us, it was difficult to take it in the same way. "Football has always been part of my life, always one of the main things. I need it. I need football in a certain way though. "One of the people I admire most is Giovanni Trapattoni, he was in his 70s and joyful about the game. That is the way I want to be. "I enjoyed it last year, very much, this year a little bit less. I know where the faults and mistakes lie. I will be working on them. "It was only my second year as a manager and you take in everything. I need to get used to it." Zola added: "This week we will have a meeting with the club, we will talk and see what the outcome will be. "Before I speak to the media I need to speak to the owners. We will have a long and interesting chat."
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