Mancini puts Tevez spat to one side ahead of derby showdown
ROBERTO MANCINI will meet with Carlos Tevez to discuss his remarks about Manchester City's training regime only after the derby.
The City manager said it was important not to disturb his main forward's concentration before a pivotal encounter with United, for which Tevez's strike partner, Roque Santa Cruz, said the Argentine "had been polishing his scoring boots for weeks, probably months".
Tevez, who disliked intensive preparation both at City and United, began the build-up to a game that will go a long way to deciding the future of both clubs by alleging his team-mates were unhappy with Mancini's methods. "We are tired but there are still double training sessions, morning and afternoon, and the next day we train for two hours," he said.
Mancini said: "I have not spoken to him before because this week the most important thing for me is the game and these other things are not so important." Mancini revealed that while at Sampdoria he had fallen out with his manager, Vujadin Boskov, for similar reasons.
"I know very well how players work," he said. "When I was a player I publicly criticised Boskov.
"I said that his training was not good for us but when he was sacked I was so sad because I thought he was the best manager ever and I knew I had made a mistake. I knew I was wrong when I attacked the manager. The most important thing for me is that Carlos works and plays very well.
"But this (training regime) is our style. I don't think we work hard, we work well. We have improved in the last three months and I am content with that." The 11 goals scored in Manchester City's previous two games is proof of that, with Alex Ferguson expressing particular admiration at the 5-1 demolition of Birmingham last Sunday, commenting that "nobody has done that to Birmingham this season".
Mancini's enthusiasm for hard training regimes and rigid tactics is a symptom of his time in Serie A and in this he is not that different from Fabio Capello or Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea. "In Italy everything is very tactical," said Mancini. "All the managers work very hard in this way."
Nevertheless, Mancini's touchline spat with David Moyes during Everton's victory at Eastlands last month displays a very English passion, although he expressed surprise that he was handed a suspended £20,000 fine for the incident. "I find it a very strange decision," he said. "I apologised to David Moyes, the supporters and the referee after the game. I suppose I will have to be more careful in future."
While United were squeezing another season from their old guard, with Paul Scholes accepting the offer of a new, one-year contract, City were starting what Ferguson expects to be a flood of signings with Mancini confirming his interest in the Hamburg defender, Jerome Boateng.
City, however, have contacted Mike Riley, the General Manager of Premier League referees, to seek an explanation for the controversial selection of Martin Atkinson as a late replacement for Steve Bennett as referee of today's clash.
Atkinson has been switched to Eastlands from this afternoon's Premier League fixture between Stoke City and Bolton at the Britannia Stadium due to Bennett being stranded in Romania - where he was on a FIFA-sponsored referees' training camp - as a result of the flight chaos caused by the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.
While accepting the unforeseen circumstances of Bennett's situation, Atkinson's appointment has been greeted with bemusement at City following the controversy sparked by his officiating during United's 4-3 victory in the corresponding fixture at Old Trafford last September when he played six minutes of injury time despite four having been signalled.