x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Robinho avoids fine

Robinho will not be disciplined by Manchester City after saying the club has a small-time mentality.

The Manchester City forward Robinho appeared to criticise his teammates in a TV interview.
The Manchester City forward Robinho appeared to criticise his teammates in a TV interview.

MANCHESTER // Robinho will not be disciplined by Manchester City after saying the club has a small-time mentality. The City manager Mark Hughes believes the Brazilian's remarks, in a television interview, were taken out of context in subsequent reports. The comments follow an outburst by his teammate Elano, who complained about not getting enough time on the field.

Although Elano's actions led to a fine, Hughes has no plans to hit Robinho in the pocket. "I view this as a different matter because people have jumped on certain statements," he said. "They are trying to emphasise the negative part of it. "I think it is a phrase from Robinho that has been taken out of context and it should be viewed as it was given at the time. "Some of the comments were taken in isolation and sound a little bit damning. But when you see the full interview and the tone in which it was given, I don't think people should place much emphasis on it.

"When you see the interview, it is done with a smile of his face. It is done with tongue in cheek. "What he's talking about is that a winning mentality has to be learned and you have to understand what it takes to win games week in, week out. "All clubs aspire to that and we are no different in that respect." Robinho, bought for a British-record fee of £32.5million (Dh177m) by the club which was subsequently taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group, feels it is the mentality of City's players, rather than the personnel themselves, that needs to change if the Blues are to become a top-flight force.

"City have good players but the mentality of a small side," he told Setanta's Football Matters programme. "They are content with just finishing fifth or sixth. They are content with little, thinking just a draw might be good enough. "They lack the mentality of champions. I have learnt that being second is worthless so I want to inspire a winning mentality. "You can only be content with winning. You need to want to beat Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool. Maybe I have changed this a bit but now City have a project to become big, the mentality has to change."

In the same interview, Robinho also offered his wishlist for signings in the January transfer window, with his fellow Brazilian Kaka top of it. The Blackburn Rovers striker Roque Santa Cruz and midfielder Lassana Diarra, of Portsmouth, are two players rumoured by the English press to be bound for Eastlands. But Robinho is urging Hughes to think big. Another Brazialian, Ronaldo, out of contract since being injured at AC Milan, is one player Robinho would like to see become a Blue. But it is forKaka that he feels Hughes should break the bank.

"We have good players but if the club wants to be big, we have to sign more," he said. "Who would I sign? If I could choose it would be Kaká and Ronaldo." Robinho accepts a more pragmatic response may be needed from the City hierarchy. Defeats to Chelsea, Liverpool and, on Sunday, Manchester United, all at home, suggest City are a long way from the stated desire of challenging for major honours on the domestic front.

And, as Robinho points out, the foundations must be laid first. "When you build a house you have to start from the floor. You start from the bottom, the defence, and then you fix the attack," he said. * With agencies