• Premier League

Mancini: City have 10% chance of keeping title

ESPN staff
February 9, 2013
Roberto Mancini: We have a 10% chance

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini accused his players of showing a lack of strength and personality after Saturday evening's 3-1 loss at Southampton, and feels his side now have only a ten per cent chance of retaining the Premier League title.

Inexplicable mistakes by Joe Hart and Gareth Barry helped the Saints achieve their first win under Mauricio Pochettino in style.

Hart could have possibly done better with the shot that led to Jason Puncheon's opener, and there was no doubting the England goalkeeper's culpability for Steven Davis' bundled second goal for the hosts.

Edin Dzeko reduced the deficit as half-time approached, but soon after the break Southampton's two-goal cushion was restored as Barry passed into his own goal unchallenged.

"I am disappointed with our performance. They deserved to win,'' Mancini said on ESPN. "We didn't play well. We conceded a goal that I have never seen in my life. That's it. Now we can do nothing - only say congratulations to Southampton for their performance. I think [the players] understand that we played really bad. I think it's the worst game in the last two or three years, maybe.

"We're missing Vinny [Kompany] and missing [Matija] Nastasic, and we have some players who are not in form. They played really bad - without strength, without personality. I'm very disappointed in them.''

Asked what the defeat meant for his team's title chances, he replied: "We have ten per cent, maybe.''

Southampton striker Rickie Lambert felt his team were worthy winners against the defending champions.

"I think it's our best performance [of the season],'' he said on ESPN. "We were absolutely superb today and got exactly what we deserved. We looked for the early goal and looked to put them under pressure early and hope to capitalise on it. It worked perfectly. Then we went 2-0 up, which was even better.''

The margin of victory could have been even greater had referee Martin Atkinson not waved away Jay Rodriguez's penalty appeals on the stroke of half-time.

Man of the match Rodriguez said: "I ran in and I think there was a little nudge, but the referee hasn't given it so we got on with the game.'We press hard, took the game to them. As you can see, it creates chances and puts us on the front foot. We've taken to it well and put in a great performance.''

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