Mancini sweats over Richards injury
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini hopes a week of rest can help kickstart his team's season after a lacklustre victory over Swansea featured a worrying injury to defender Micah Richards.
The versatile former England international was stretchered off after collapsing in agony and receiving treatment to his knee, an injury which followed Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm also being carried off after tearing his groin.
The Dutchman was injured while trying to keep out Carlos Tevez's 61st minute shot, the only goal of a game which brought City a 1-0 victory after the disappointment of their Champions League loss to Ajax in midweek.
Vorm will be out for four to six weeks with the injury, missing a League Cup tie at Liverpool on Wednesday and a league game against Chelsea next weekend.
The two serious injuries meant that referee Martin Atkinson played 12 minutes of injury-time, making this the longest game in Premier League history.
"Micah has a problem with his knee," said Mancini. "I don't know the situation but probably it is bad. I hope not but I don't know. He was tired because it was his third game in 10 days."
However, with City's interest in the League Cup over, a blank week may now be what the Italian requires to get key players fit and healthy after a gruelling and – in Europe, at least – unproductive start to the campaign.
"We have played every few days for a few weeks and have not been able to make a lot of changes because we have six players injured at the moment," he said.
"At this difficult moment, when we're so tired and don't have any players because of injuries, it's important to get three points.
"It is important to have the rest now. That's why it was important to get the three points because we have one week now where maybe we can recover and we can maybe get a couple of players back for the next game."
Tevez claimed his first goal since September 1 and was the one constant attacking threat in the second half, after he was placed in a deeper-lying role which allowed him to see more of the ball.
"Carlos also played well against West Brom last week," said Mancini. "He was playing hard for the team and maybe deserved to score last week. Instead, he scored today and it was an important goal."
For Swansea, the loss of Vorm is particularly hard to deal with, given that his team faces such important games in the coming days.
"It's his groin. You're talking four to six weeks or something," said manager Michael Laudrup who will now press stand-in Gerhard Tremmel into action.
"That's a part of football and even if it's early in the season that's what can happen.
"That means everybody has to be ready and now suddenly Gerhard has to be ready starting with the Liverpool and Chelsea games."
Further frustration for Laudrup came with the realisation he has also lost defender Angel Rangel for the forthcoming game against Liverpool after he collected a first half yellow card, his fifth of the season, for simulation in the first half.
"That was really something," said Laudrip sarcastically. "You've got to admire that. Getting a free-kick against him was strange but if that was diving, then we have invented a new form of diving today."
At least, for Mancini, the win lifts the pressure that is undoubtedly mounting following the team's poor showings in Europe and allowed him a smile in the post-match press conference when asked how he had brought about City's second half improvement.
"What did I say at halftime?" smiled Mancini. "I only shot three or four players in the dressing room – so I was calm."