Given told to stop whingeing
Ireland keeper set for first start despite Mancini's clamp down
ROBERTO MANCINI has told his players to stop whingeing to the media, in a thinly veiled criticism of want-away goalkeeper Shay Given.
The Ireland No 1 is set to start his first club game of the season against West Brom in the Carling Cup this evening, provided he overcomes a minor toe problem.
Given went public on his dissatisfaction in August when it became apparent that Joe Hart was Mancini's favoured goalkeeper, and spoke out again last week when he was overlooked for the Europa League meeting with Red Bull Salzburg.
Ireland's joint most capped player said that his performances in training obviously didn't matter. He also said that it was difficult to speak about the matter with Mancini because his English isn't too good.
However, the City boss, who has also run into difficulties with Emmanuel Adebayor in recent weeks, wants the public outbursts to stop and instead encouraged unhappy players to come and speak with him.
Communication issues have dogged Mancini's reign, and he fell out with Craig Bellamy and Stephen Ireland before their departures. The Italian was a combustible enough character himself during his playing days, and claims that he appreciates the angst of those on the sidelines.
"I played football and sometimes I had this problem when I played -- I can understand that," Mancini said.
"It's not frustrating for me, but at the same time it's important that we start to change their mentality. If you want to win something, to become a top team, we must change this because it's impossible that every few days a player does an interview saying, 'Oh, I'm not playing'.
"He can knock on my door and speak with me. I will explain the situation -- sometimes I choose one player because it is a tactical situation.
"Other teams probably have a different mentality because all the players who play there play every three days and know the manager will change (the team), like me. But it is difficult to change our mentality in five months.
"The players must understand that the manager chooses 11 players, not because Manu (Adebayor) or (Mario) Balotelli or Kolo (Toure) are not good players, but because in that moment I need this player. I want a mentality like at Manchester United and Chelsea.
"It's normal that a player is unhappy if he doesn't play. This is correct because if a player doesn't play and is happy, he's crazy.
"It's important he's unhappy and it's important he continues to work because it's important I can change my mind. But I can only choose 11 players."
Given's situation is different, however, with rotation of the goalkeeping gloves not on Mancini's agenda. Indeed, it's possible that Carling Cup action is all he will have to look forward to at Eastlands between now and January, when it's likely he will move.
When he decided to stay at the club in August, it was anticipated that he would assume Europa League duties; sitting out the Red Bull encounter prompted another foray into the public domain.
Some reports have suggested that clear-the-air talks between the manager and player took place after the 34-year-old spoke out at the weekend.
Mancini has also warned potential suitors that Given won't be available on the cheap if clubs reckoned they might capitalise on the situation. "Shay is an important player and he will cost someone a lot of money," he said.
Nevertheless, the City boss would be happy for the player to stay, and doesn't want to give the impression that he is keen to get rid of him.
But Adebayor, who may get a place on the bench tonight, is testing his patience. "I don't know if he wants to stay or not," the manager said. "I think he must stay because he has a contract with this club and he's an important player."
Mancini, who may finally have Jerome Boateng back for the visit of Newcastle a week on Sunday, admitted that he himself took the sub's role badly.
"I had bad behaviour with managers that I loved. I understand that this can happen during the game or when you are substituted. But during the week it's important that you understand why the manager did that."
Irish youngster Greg Cunningham is in contention to figure this evening, a development that will please Giovanni Trapattoni.
City have so many options at their disposal that Cunningham and young centre Dedryck Boyata are the only youth players in line to gain further experience.
Cunningham is rated highly by Mancini, and made his City debut against Scunthorpe in the FA Cup earlier this year. The Galway lad was called up by Trapattoni, who is keen to develop a long term option at left-back, with Kevin Kilbane approaching the end of the road.
It's possible that the ex-Mervue United man may need to go out on loan after Christmas to gain further experience. Aleksandar Kolarov and Wayne Bridge are ahead of him in the queue, but injury setbacks to that pair have opened the door to make an impression.
Roberto di Matteo may give ex-Irish international Steven Reid a rare start, in addition to Roman Bednar, Gianni Zuiverloon and Giles Barnes.