x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Mancini sees funny side after irritation

The Manchester City manager denies rumours that all is not well within team.

Roberto Mancini came with a mask of his assistant David Platt.
Roberto Mancini came with a mask of his assistant David Platt.

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, stunned reporters as he walked into a press conference yesterday morning wearing a David Platt mask.

It was the Italian's way of joking with journalists after a couple of fiery exchanges last week.

Mancini was irritated by certain questions before and after his side's Champions League draw with Ajax and then did not attend pre- or post-match press conferences for last weekend's clash with Tottenham Hotspur.

On those occasions Platt, the first-team coach, spoke on his behalf and it was that Mancini was referring to by wearing a mask of the former England international.

"Do you prefer David or me?" the Italian asked after taking his seat.

Mancini lost his temper ahead of the Ajax game when asked about reports linking him with Monaco.

Some media then suggested the 47 year old was feeling the strain after he confronted the referee and clashed with a cameraman following what proved a controversial draw against the Dutch side.

But as he met press again to preview today's game against Aston Villa, the manager was clearly keen to show he has not lost his sense of humour. Mancini also dismissed reports linking the club with a move for Liverpool's Luis Suarez.

Mancini claims he has no intention of making any additions to his squad in the January transfer window.

The Italian's comments come after Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, also dismissed suggestions Uruguay striker could make a switch to the Etihad Stadium.

Mancini, tiring of recurring speculation surrounding the club or his future, said: "It is not true, I don't know. For two weeks we talk about Monaco, after [Pep] Guardiola, after another manager, now Suarez, now Mario [Balotelli]. We have a good team and we don't need to buy another player in January.

"We can't buy Suarez or another player because we have four strikers and Suarez plays for Liverpool."

Mancini also revealed that he dropped Balotelli from his squad to face Spurs last weekend because of disappointing performances in training.

The striker watched the 2-1 win from the stands after not even being included on the bench.

Mancini said: "Mario didn't play because it was my choice. I have 20 players and if there are some players that don't work well, they don't deserve to play.

"There were other players that worked better than Mario and they deserve to go on the bench."

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