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Time running out for Martin Petrov at Manchester City
Published : 09 Jan 2010 19:58:12
Despite the former Atlético Madrid player having made just five starts in the Premier League this season, only Carlos Tévez, Craig Bellamy and Emmanuel Adebayor have bettered Petrov's tally of four goals in the Premier League, which is four more than Robinho has managed. Petrov, 31, has held preliminary discussions about extending his present contract beyond the end of the season. Premier League Transfer TalkAlthough the Bulgarian has plenty in common with Manchester United's Nani, Liverpool's Albert Riera and Chelsea's Florent Malouda, and the problems that trio have endured over the past 18 months, it is still hard to imagine their contracts being allowed to run down as far as Manchester City man's has. He came close to leaving for Tottenham on transfer deadline day in the summer and would have been looking for a new club this month if Mark Hughes was still in charge at Eastlands. Petrov is still the only City player to openly criticise Hughes since his departure last month and is still irritated by the way he was treated by his former manager, after being dropped twice after scoring in matches this season. His appearance in Roberto Mancini's first game, the 2-0 victory over Stoke, was his first start in two months and, for all the anger among the City players in the wake of Hughes' dismissal following the 4-3 win over Sunderland, it is not hard to imagine Petrov's feelings when he emerged from the shower to be informed of the manager's demise by captain Kolo Touré. "I am not the only player who was not playing, but I tell you I think I have a place in this team and that I'm showing that to the former manager," Petrov said. "If someone doesn't give you the chance then that's frustrating to me, and he knows what I think. "I had been away from Bulgaria for 12 years and this had never happened to me before. It was a new situation and maybe I made mistakes because I was too frustrated." City could push their way into the top four for the first time in more than two months with victory against Blackburn at Eastlands tomorrow night and, while Petrov has been impressed by the first days of Mancini's reign, he feels the manager will need longer than Hughes got. He said: "If we need a manager to do something with the group, he needs a little bit more time. I think every club that is successful in the world, they have managers that stay for a long time, 10 or 15 years. "The manager tries to communicate in English. Everyone knows what the manager wants. He can explain himself, no problem. It is clear what each individual must do and I think that's normal, because he comes from Italy." Patrick Vieira has followed Mancini from Italy and Petrov is sure that the French midfielder, 33, can prove wrong those who are predicting he will struggle to have an impact on the Premier League. "He's got a lot of quality and he's played in the Premier League before," he said. "What can I say about Vieira? Everyone knows how he can play and how he can help the team." Having started Mancini's first three matches, Petrov is hoping to extend his stay in Manchester and is happy in England. "We have spoken once or twice, my agent and the club," he said. "Nothing significant has happened yet. "I want to stay if everything runs well. Now is a different situation for me. "My family is happy here and I now have the weather like in Bulgaria."