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Mancini lays it on the line for City's costly misfit Robinho

Robinho has been warned his price-tag will not guarantee him a place in Roberto Mancini's Manchester City line-up.

Since his £32.5m move from Real Madrid 18 months ago, the Brazilian has enjoyed brief productive spells but largely, his time at Eastlands has been tinged with disappointment, with his work-rate, or lack of it, coming under intense scrutiny.

Robinho has only started one game under Mancini, although he did make a brief substitute appearance against Blackburn on Monday as City shot into the Premier League's top four.



re-establish

While Mancini has played down his lack of recent outings, and hinted the Samba star will be involved at Everton this evening, it is clear that if Robinho is going to re-establish himself at City now the prospect of a transfer window move to Barcelona has receded, he will have to earn a place rather than expect it to be given.

"How much a player cost is not important," said Mancini.

"What you pay only matters when you are in the act of buying someone.

"The important thing after that is the player working hard and playing well."

"Robinho is a top player," said Mancini. "I watched him a lot when he was at Real Madrid.

"But there are some situations where he can improve. He does understand the work ethic of the team and that is important."



toughest

With new signing Patrick Vieira ruled out with the calf injury he picked up in his final game with Inter Milan, City are expected to stick with the side that performed so well against Blackburn for what constitutes the toughest test of Mancini's reign so far.

Meanwhile, Everton boss David Moyes believes Tim Cahill is again approaching his best form for the club.

The Australia international has endured a testing first half of the season after taking the captain's armband while regular skipper Phil Neville recovered from a serious knee problem.

The Toffees were unlucky not to emerge with all three points from last weekend's 2-2 draw at Arsenal, and with Cahill instrumental in that performance, Moyes believes the midfielder is once again playing to his optimum.

"I thought it was probably Tim's best game," said Moyes.

"I think there has been signs that Tim is beginning to get back to the form that we know, and hopefully that's right."

EVERTON v MAN CITY,

Tonight, Live ESPN (KO 5.30)


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