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Page last updated at 17:13 GMT, Friday, 15 October 2010 18:13 UK

Roberto Mancini hits out at Nigel De Jong critics

Nigel de Jong
De Jong is not thought to have apologised to Hatem Ben Arfa

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has hit out at those who criticised Nigel de Jong after the midfielder's leg-breaking tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa.

Newcastle winger Ben Arfa had to have surgery on a broken tibula and fibula.

And it led to wide condemnation of De Jong, including from his international manager Bert van Marwijk who dropped the player from the Netherlands squad.

But Mancini said: "I'm very disappointed with the people who spoke about it. It was a normal tackle."

Ben Arfa went down from De Jong's challenge after only four minutes of City's 2-1 win over Newcastle on 3 October, before being stretchered off and taken to hospital.

But De Jong was not reprimanded for the tackle during the game by referee Martin Atkinson, nor will he face retrospective action despite calls from Newcastle for the Football Association to punish him.

Mancini stated: "Probably people do look at things negatively but every week, in every game, here, in Spain, in Italy, there are unbelievable fouls, worse than Nigel's.

I played football. I understand when you are tired you might say something you do not want to say

Mancini on reports of a rift with Carlos Tevez

"He is an honest player. He is a hard player but there are a lot of players like that."

The City boss added: "I am sorry for Ben Arfa but these things happen in football.

"Nigel was disappointed to be left out [of the Netherlands team] but this is normal. But he is a Holland player and has always given 100% for them.

"I think he will try to get back in the Holland team."

De Jong is likely to called upon for City's Premier League match against Blackpool on Sunday.

So, too, will Carlos Tevez - despite talk of a rift between the Argentine striker and Mancini.

The pair were reported to have had an argument at half-time of the game against Newcastle, with Tevez not keen on Mancini's tactics and the manager equally unimpressed with his captain making his feelings known.

However, Mancini insists the matter is in the past, saying: "I played football. I understand when you are tired you might say something you do not want to say.

"For me it is no problem."

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see also
Ben Arfa has surgery on leg break
04 Oct 10 |  Newcastle
De Jong dropped from Dutch squad
04 Oct 10 |  Football
Man City 2-1 Newcastle
03 Oct 10 |  Premier League

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