• Premier League

Under-fire Mancini insists City 'much better' than Utd

ESPN staff
December 11, 2012
Has Roberto Mancini lost the support of some players? © PA Photos

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has insisted that City 'have a much better team and play much better football' than Manchester United.

Premier League champions City were beaten 3-2 at home by their arch-rivals on Sunday, as Sir Alex Ferguson's side moved six points clear at the top of the league table.

But Mancini believes both the derby result and the current standings are not fair reflections of City's superior quality.

"United have more experience but we have a much better team and play much better football," Mancini said during a function in Italy.

Meanwhile, reports on Tuesday have suggested that Mancini faces a dressing room backlash at the Etihad Stadium, having torn into his players for their performance against United.

Mancini singled out Mario Balotelli, Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez for public criticism in the wake of the derby defeat, but it is believed many others were dressed down behind closed doors by the Italian in the minutes following the final whistle.

The Times reported that the Italian issued a "furious rebuke" of goalkeeper Joe Hart in front of shocked team-mates, accusing the Englishman of making too many individual errors in the game. The pair have crossed paths before this season, after Hart criticised City's mentality for failing to hold onto a lead against Real Madrid in a Champions League match.

"Joe Hart should stay in goal and make saves," Mancini said in reply. "I am the judge, not Joe Hart."

The treatment of other squad members including Joleon Lescott - who has gone from a key member of the first-team to a fringe presence in recent months - has also reportedly led to the Italian losing popularity among some players and members of the backroom staff.

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