Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Barclays Premier League

Mancini doesn't blame Hart



Roberto Mancini refused to blame goalkeeper Joe Hart for wrecking Manchester City's title challenge as the champions slipped to a shock 1-0 defeat at Sunderland.

England midfielder Adam Johnson claimed the only goal against his former club on Wednesday to end City's eight-month unbeaten away league record.

Hart looked at fault as he was beaten at his near post by Johnson's 53rd minute effort to leave City trailing seven points behind leaders Manchester United, who increased their advantage thanks to a late winner in a 4-3 victory over Newcastle.

However, Mancini's ire was directed at referee Kevin Friend rather than the England keeper, who was nevertheless at fault for allowing Johnson's cross to slip beneath his out-stretched left arm.

The Italian admitted his side had been "soft" in crucial areas, but also pointed the finger at the officials as City suffered a third consecutive defeat at the Stadium of Light, a venue where they are winless for almost four-and-a-half years.

Mancini insisted Friend and his assistants had enjoyed their Christmas Day celebrations rather too much, after claiming they missed Craig Gardner's foul on Pablo Zabaleta in the build-up to the decisive goal from the winger, who ended a rollercoaster two-and-a-half-year spell at City with a £10 million return to his native North-East in pre-season.

"Johnson was really clever because we all thought he was going to cross," Mancini said. "Instead, he shot, he did very well. I don't think Hart was at fault.

"The City manager was rather less positive about referee Friend, and he added: "The referee ate too much for Christmas. He was not in good form. But that can happen after Christmas when they have a performance like that."

Mancini didn't spare his side from criticism, however, as they fell further behind United, and he added: "We didn't score and this is our problem. We just didn't score enough goals to win the game.

"Whenever we had chances, we were too soft. We were too soft in attack, too soft when we got chances, too soft when we shot.

"Sometimes we didn't shoot when we should have. We wanted one touch more and that's no good.

"When you play against a team like Sunderland, who defend with all their players behind the ball, if you get a chance, then you need to score. They are a bit of a bogey team for us here, maybe next year we won't come."

Although United now look firm favourites for the title, Mancini shrugged-off their seven-point advantage and added: "What happened at Old Trafford is not important to us. We know United are a fantastic team and will probably win every game but the season is long.

"United are better than us at present, but it can change. They are on the top but we have the time to recover. Seven points isn't a problem."

Stephane Sessegnon had chances to stretch the winning margin, but after seeing his side earn back-to-back home wins for the first time since March, Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill insisted: "We played really well against a terrific side and the confidence is coming back."

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R152.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
FIFA 14
Xbox 360
R549.00
Mitre Ultimatch Soccer Ball - White
A high quality football, offering high performance at both training and during football matches.
R252.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Live Video Streaming

Barclays Premier League - Matchday 3: Everton v Chelsea
Tue, 02 Sep @ 05:00
Tue, 02 Sep @ 11:15

Sports Talk



Carol Radull
Where are Kenya's strikers?
I was watching the English Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea on Saturday night and...

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Spurs will challenge for the title
It was in my room in Rustenburg, during the last Afcon, that I noticed the style that Mauricio...

John Dykes
United in condemnation
The British football press showed tremendous solidarity this week when they all leaped on the same...

Neil Tovey
Borrowing from best practice
The late Irish scribe and poet Oscar Wilde once famously opined that “youth is wasted on the...

Sunday Oliseh
Man U need more than an 'Angel'
Just two games into the English Premier League and Manchester United are five points (synonymous to...

Arjun Vidyarthi
Good signs for the Reds despite loss
A brace from Stevan Jovetic and a Sergio Aguero stunner ensured that Manchester City took all three...