Mancini urges Man City to tighten up
SUNDERLAND, England - Agence France-Presse
Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko reacts after missing an opportunity in his team’s defeat against Sunderland. REUTERS photoManchester City forward Edin Dzeko reacts after missing an opportunity in his team’s defeat against Sunderland.
Roberto Mancini has warned his title-chasing Manchester City side it needs to understand there is more to football than attack after being caught out in a 1-0 defeat at Sunderland.
Premier League leaders City remained on top but on goal difference alone after South Korea’s Ji Dong-Won struck deep into injury time on Jan. 1.
The defeat was compounded by the knowledge a win at the Stadium of Light would have put City three points clear of Manchester United after the second-placed champions’ shock 3-2 loss at home to Blackburn a day earlier.
City faces sixth-placed Liverpool, fresh from a 3-1 win over Newcastle, at Eastlands tonight and manager Mancini doesn’t want them to make the same mistake twice in a row.
“We seemed to want to attack with 10 players and to do that is impossible,” Mancini said. “I don’t know how many chances we had, but I’m not worried about not scoring in the last couple of games (City was held to a goalless draw by West Brom on Boxing Day), but what I’m worried about is having players on the pitch who understand the situation when we’re vulnerable to a counter-attack.”
Liverpool, still considering an appeal against the eight-game ban given to Luis Suarez for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra at Anfield in October, could welcome the controversial Uruguay striker back from a separate one-match suspension imposed for a gesture towards Fulham fans following last month’s 1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage.
Meanwhile Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is in line for his first league start since October 22.
It follows the England international’s impressive performance in Dec. 30 win over Newcastle.
Gerrard, who has missed a large part of the season due to an ankle infection, scored after coming off the bench to make it 3-1.
The influential midfielder is relishing the opportunity of facing the leader.
“Bring it on,” said Gerrard. “They are a fantastic team who have started the season really well but we’ve got nothing to fear.
“These are exciting games, we don’t fear these and these are the games as a player you want to play in. I can’t wait.”
Liverpool’s form away from Anfield has been impressive this season, with victories at Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton.
“It’s at home that we haven’t got the results our football has deserved but we will go to City full of confidence, we will give it our best shot and see where it takes us.”