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Page last updated at 19:07 GMT, Saturday, 26 December 2009

Man City boss Roberto Mancini denies Craig Bellamy rift

Craig Bellamy and Roberto Mancini
Bellamy came on as a second-half substitute in Mancini's first match

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini insisted that he has no problem with Craig Bellamy after leaving the striker out of the 2-0 win over Stoke City.

Bellamy became a crowd favourite under previous boss Mark Hughes, but new manager Mancini opted to play Robinho in his first game in charge.

"Bellamy is my friend," said Mancini. "There is no problem. I spoke with him two days ago.

"We have two games in three days and I need all the players at 100%."

Bellamy was given a rapturous reception when he replaced club record signing Robinho after 70 minutes, and Mancini added: "He understood when I told him he wasn't starting.

City seeking success under Mancini - Barry

"Today we played Robinho. It is possible we will play Craig at Wolves on Monday."

But despite having little influence on the game Mancini also backed his Brazilian striker.

"I was not disappointed with Robinho's performance," said Mancini. "He played well but after 65 minutes he was tired and I needed to make a change."

The Italian said his first experience of being a manager in the English top flight was a memorable one.

"The atmosphere was brilliant," said Mancini, who sported a blue and white City club scarf that he still had not removed 45 minutes after the final whistle.

"It was a great experience. And I was happy the fans gave me a good reception.

Mancini happy with debut victory

"Mark Hughes was very popular. I am not popular here, just in Italy. But I can answer the fans with my work."

City midfielder Gareth Barry admitted that the squad had been shocked by the departure of Hughes but denied any suggestion there was unrest in the camp.

"It's been an eventful week and a tough week for the club as a whole but it's a new beginning and three points is the perfect start," Barry told BBC Radio 5 live.

"Any change of manager brings a change to the whole system but as professional players you just have to adapt to it.

"It's a foreign manager coming in with different methods and you have to try and take in his ideas. As players we tried to do that on the pitch today and it worked.

PHIL McNULTY BLOG

"The initial thing is a shock to the players but we're here to represent Manchester City Football Club and we're professional people - a new manager's here and we'll keep giving 100% as a whole team. There's no unrest at all."

And Barry felt that his new manager's target of securing a Champions League place was not unrealistic.

"Top four is going to be a really hard task but it's a target that we can achieve," said the England player. "We know that we need to improve to get there but we've got the squad.

"If we can get our injured players back and stay injury-free for the rest of the season, then I don't see why not."



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see also
Man City 2-0 Stoke
26 Dec 09 |  Premier League
Hughes axe leaves Ferguson fuming
24 Dec 09 |  Man Utd
Man City angry at Mancini reports
23 Dec 09 |  Man City
Mancini eyes Man City title glory
22 Dec 09 |  Man City
I had no warning of sack - Hughes
20 Dec 09 |  Man City



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