x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Mancini happy with City stay

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, insists he will be at Eastlands next season when the club could be hosting Champions League football.

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, insists he will be at Eastlands next season when the club could be hosting Champions League football. The Italian was quick to distance himself from reports linking him with a move to Juventus following the 6-1 victory against Burnley which took City back into fourth place in the Premier League. Mancini says he is enjoying life in England and contrary to reports appears in no hurry to return home. Told he had said 'Juventus was a special club', he responded: "Manchester City is a special club. I never said those things. I am manager of Manchester City and I am happy to stay here." City's Champions League hopes will hinge on forthcoming games against Spurs, who relinquished fourth spot, and Villa as well as Manchester United and Arsenal.

Hull received some good news after George Boateng, their captain, was released from hospital yesterday following a sickening head injury at Stoke on Saturday. The veteran Dutchman, 34, was carried off on a stretcher and taken straight to hospital after being struck in the face by an overhead kick from Tuncay Sanli, the Stoke forward. He was kept in hospital over night for observation amid fears he had suffered a fractured jaw, but has now returned home after a series of scans and X-rays all came back clear. Boateng was knocked unconscious in the incident, which came after Iain Dowie, the Hull manager, had already made his three substitutions. Dowie said afterwards: "It was a fantastic challenge and that is the type of character he is. It was a hell of a whack but there was no malice from Tuncay."

Sam Allardyce thinks his Blackburn team would have comfortably finished in the Premier League top 10 this season if they had a regular goalscorer. A goalless draw against the Championship-bound Portsmouth on Saturday highlighted Blackburn's failings in front of goal once again, as they failed to breach an injury-ravaged home defence. Blackburn are 11th in the table, but Allardyce feels they are just one player away from finishing much higher. He said: "The clean sheets are obviously the basis for any good season. The team that wins the league has the most clean sheets. "That's always your first priority because with our deficiencies in front of goal, we find ourselves just below the top half. "[David] Dunn is our leading scorer [with eight in the Premier League]. But someone should have stepped up to the plate."