x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Mancini: If players are unhappy at City, then leave

Manchester City manager Robert Mancini has heard the talk of Inter Milan courting his striker, Carlos Tevez


MANCHESTER // Roberto Mancini has urged Carlos Tevez to reject the advances of Inter Milan and stay at Manchester City.

The 2010 European champions are interested in the Argentine striker, with a £50 million (Dh298m) move to the San Siro mooted. But Mancini, who coached Inter between 2004 and 2008, hopes Tevez sees out his contract at Eastlands, which expires in 2014.

The Italian has to decide whether to select Tevez, who has played only seven minutes of football in more than a month since tearing a hamstring, for today's FA Cup final against Stoke City.

Mancini, 46, has denied that his relationship with his captain has broken down and, with City assured of a top-four finish for the first time since 1978 and able to win a first major trophy in 35 years, said his players should be pleased to remain at the club.

"It's important to stay here, because we believe in this project," he said. "He's got a five-year contract but I always say that, in my opinion, a player should stay here because he believes in the project and he's happy to stay."

Mancini is willing to sell the 22-goal striker if the alternative is keeping an unsettled player.

City's executives already are bracing for further talks with Tevez's agent, Kia Joorabchian, who is not the most popular man in the corridors of power at Eastlands.

"I never said that Carlos wants to leave," Mancini said. "I said that it would be his decision. He has a five-year contract here with Manchester City.

"If the players aren't happy to stay at the club it is better they leave. But this is not just for Carlos, it's for the players in general. When you start your job you should be happy, because the season is long and there could be a thousand problems."

Tevez's two years in the City attack have yielded 51 goals, but Mancini has denied that the former Manchester United striker is essential if the club are to win the Premier League.

"We have a good team this year," he said. "We need to improve. To win a title is harder, but if we can buy good players next season with [the] experience of winning with other teams that would be good for everyone."

Mancini will choose from Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli to lead the line for City at Wembley Stadium today.

Stoke are underdogs, but Mancini has defeated them only once in five attempts during his reign.

"We've had a problem in every game," he said. "Every game. They're not easy to play against. For them it's a massive game, one of the biggest for the last 10 or 20 years. They know that to win they will have to play at 200 per cent, and I'm sure they will play at 200 per cent."

Stoke's style of play has drawn criticism and while Mancini refused the opportunity to echo Arsene Wenger's comment that they play rugby, he did say: "In my opinion football should be played with the foot."

The Potters ended his side's FA Cup run last year, a result that still rankles.

"We lost 3-1 in extra time when we played Stoke last season," he said. "That game was incredible because we deserved to win."

Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, believes that their first FA Cup final is a reward for the investment, patience and judgment of owner Peter Coates.

The gambling magnate bought his hometown club for a second time in 2006 and reappointed Pulis, who had been at the helm between 2002 and 2005.

"While there will be no prouder man than me at Wembley, I am particularly pleased for Peter and his family. They deserve this special moment," Pulis said.

"Great credit goes to them because their foresight, their willingness to back me in trying to build this football club, has been such an important factor, not just for this generation but for the next one so we can see a vibrant and successful club for many years.

"I've never worked for a person that I've had as much respect for as Peter. He's certainly been a steadying influence. He had a clear vision of how we should build up the club, step by step, and what we have achieved has been quite remarkable."

Stoke will give fitness tests this morning to the winger Matthew Etherington, who has a hamstring injury, and the centre-back Robert Huth, who has a knee problem.



6pm, Aljazeera Sport +3 & +5