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Monday 26 June 2017

United defector Hargreaves to make City debut

OWEN Hargreaves will make his Manchester City debut in Wednesday’s Carling Cup tie against holders Birmingham.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is expected to make major changes to his starting XI following Sunday's disappointing 2-2 draw with Fulham, and former Manchester United midfielder Hargreaves could get the chance to prove his fitness following his move across the city.



“I need to speak with Owen and on Tuesday we will decide if he will play, but he probably will. He has been in full training but he is not 100 per cent. He could play maybe 30 to 45 minutes,” said Mancini.



Mancini is hoping Hargreaves can help to solve a midfield shortage which he felt contributed to City's poor second-half show at Craven Cottage, where they conceded a two-goal advantage.



"I don't have players at the moment. I can only change the fullbacks. I have only two midfielders, because James [Milner] and [Nigel] De Jong have injuries."



Mancini also appeared to admit his players lacked the mentality of champions after watching them waste numerous chances to kill off opponents for the third time in eight days.



"What team comes here against Fulham in London and has over 70 per cent of ball possession?" he added. "We had the same problem against Wigan at home. We had 15 chances in the first half and we scored only one goal.



"It doesn't always go well if you don't score, if you don't close the game."



"What team comes here against Fulham in London and has over 70 per cent of ball possession?" he added. "We had the same problem against Wigan at home. We had 15 chances in the first half and we scored only one goal.



"It doesn't always go well if you don't score, if you don't close the game."



Mancini was unhappy with the way his star-studded attackers defended, too, accusing them of shirking their responsibilities.



"For 10 minutes, we defended with five or six players. It is not good enough," he said. "I'm not angry. I'm just disappointed because we conceded two stupid goals."



Those were scored by Bobby Zamora and Danny Murphy after Sergio Aguero continued his sensational start to life in England with the seventh and eighth goals of his five-game Premier League career.



Fulham should have been even more tired than their opponents, having had 24 hours less of a rest after their Europa League game.



But after a lethargic first half, they were full of beans in the second, fighting back to haul themselves off the foot of the table.



Manager Martin Jol, who is still searching for his first league win in charge, admitted being bottom had been "awful".



He added: "We played two away games and had to play in Europe as well so it wasn't easy, but you have to win your home games.



"Luckily enough, for now, we are 18th. It looks better."



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