Sport Soccer

Sunday 22 April 2018

Milner backs Mancini to get City slackers back on track

Sandy Macaskill in Poznan

James Milner has defended Roberto Mancini's position at Manchester City, insisting that the players are fully behind the Italian, despite reports of dressing-room unrest.

City arrived in Poland for this evening's Europa League Group A tie against Lech Poznan with suggestions rife that Mancini has lost the backing of his players after a string of embarrassing public disagreements between the players.

Only this week, former captain Kolo Touré said that the players needed to "resolve their problems," but Milner insisted that they were fully supportive of their boss and promised that the negative reports would only spur the players on.

"We have 100pc faith in the manager," Milner said. "Look at his record, he's a top manager and we're very fortunate to have him. We all know what the score is. It's down to us to go out and win football matches. That's all we can control. It starts here. Hopefully, we can win a couple of games and then the attention moves away from things off the field to things happening on the field."

The midfielder also stressed that there were no lasting problems with Yaya Touré after the pair's disagreement in the tunnel following the defeat by Arsenal last weekend. "It was heat of the moment, it happens every single week," Milner said. "There are no problems at all between me and Yaya. You can't afford to have any problems in the squad at all and we're lucky to have a bunch of lads who are very close."


The subject of the brunt of the speculation was grinning as Milner said all the right things, and judging by his ability to sit through a stiflingly hot press conference with his blue and white scarf draped round his neck, coping with the heat. Mancini even managed a joke about the latest rumour of a bust-up with Yaya Toure and his brother, Kolo, after both were left behind in Manchester to rest.

"Now I have a problem with Carlos (Tevez), with Yaya, Kolo -- all the players," he said. "But it is really false. It is not true. We started the season very well, we lost against Wolves. It is not important for me (to worry about the speculation). It is important for the squad to continue to work and in the end show that we change our history."

Mancini has been boosted by the news that Mario Balotelli, who was removed from training on Tuesday as a precaution against injury, has been passed with a clean bill of health, while Tevez will return to Manchester today and is expected to be fit to play against West Brom.

Both manager and players have now talked the talk. Walking the walk in Poland would guarantee progress to the knockout stages with two matches to spare if Juventus lose at home to Salzburg. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Lech Poznan v Man City,

Live, Setanta Ireland, 6.0

Irish Independent

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