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Man City boss Robert Mancini defensive amid fans' fury

Roberto Mancini
Mancini looks on as his team fire blanks against Birmingham

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini defended his tactics after a second goalless draw on home soil in four days led to boos from the Eastlands fans.

Having failed to find a way past Manchester United, it was the same story against a Birmingham outfit who are moving into relegation territory.

Disenchantment in the stands grew when Carlos Tevez was replaced by defensive midfielder Gareth Barry late on.

Mancini said: "I'm frustrated too. I wanted to win. I don't want to draw."

He explained the substitution of leading scorer Tevez by claiming the Argentine playmaker had "had a little injury for two or three weeks".

Platt 'hugely frustrated' by draw

Mancini said: "I felt if we took off that player we might have more chances to score. But if you think I put four strikers on and we score four goals, it is not true.

"All supporters are like this, in England and Italy. I must think like a manager. We can play wide, get the ball into the box, then we can score.

"Supporters just think why don't you put more strikers in the box, two, three, four, five."

The absence of Emmanuel Adebayor with a heel injury and Mario Balotelli through suspension led to Mancini introducing Roque Santa Cruz midway through the second half.

606: DEBATE
Kragzie

Yet £18m Brazilian forward Jo remained on the bench as Tevez made his way off, raising a rueful eyebrow as he took his place in the dugout.

With only one win in five Premier League games - and no league goals on home soil since the beginning of October - questions are being asked of Mancini, by supporters if not the club's owners.

The Italian flew back home on a family visit after the match, although he insists he feels under no pressure.

"Which pressure? For what?" he said. "You continue to say I am under pressure. Which pressure? Because some supporters say I did not put two strikers on, or journalists say I am too defensive?"

"I am not under pressure. We are in fourth position. We have some problems. Since the start of the season it has been the case that if Carlos Tevez doesn't score, no-one does.

McLeish proud of Birmingham spirit

"We must improve that. But we have only played 13 games. When I have all my players and we have the right balance, then maybe we play better."

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish was able to accept the result more readily even though his side are struggling at the wrong end of the table.

"The second half in particular was a bit scary but the longer the game went I felt we could just nick something," he stated.

McLeish confirmed midfielder Craig Gardner suffered an ankle injury, which he had hoped to run off but found the pain was just too severe.

"He was struggling even before City came out for the second half," said McLeish. "But we stood firm. Everyone put a shift in for us.

"We know we have a big fight in this league but we are not getting panicky and paranoid looking at league tables in November."



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see also
Man City 0-0 Birmingham
13 Nov 10 |  Premier League
Fourth spot would satisfy Mancini
12 Nov 10 |  Man City


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