Mancini lies low after City slip

Although they regained top spot in the Barclays Premier League, City dropped two crucial points as they were forced to reply to a sensational Peter Crouch volley. Yaya Toure struck a superb equaliser but Mancini was angered by Stoke's rugged approach, and an incident in the first half when Dean Whitehead clashed with David Silva.

City first team coach David Platt said: "It's not a case of being too angry - he's just wary that he might say something that gets him in hot water. It's about the way the game unfolded. It is very difficult when you come here and sometimes you look for a bit of protection. It's a bit hot afterwards but once he's calmed down he'll be fine."

City playmaker Silva needed treatment for a head wound after being caught by Whitehead's arm in an aerial challenge, but referee Howard Webb did not book the player. It was also claimed Mancini did not shake his opposite number Tony Pulis' hand after the game, such was his indignation.

The result took City back above Manchester United on goal difference at the top, but their rivals now play their game in hand against Fulham on Monday. Platt rubbished claims the Manchester clubs are becoming embroiled in mind games as the title race hots up.

Earlier this week City's football development executive Patrick Vieira claimed United had shown signs of weakness by bringing Paul Scholes out of retirement. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson returned fire by questioning City's recall of Carlos Tevez, who spent three months in Argentina without permission earlier this season.

Platt said: "It doesn't matter what the ammunition is and what words are, it is all about amassing points.

"It is not about winning leagues because of mind games. It is about players going onto a pitch to play football and gain points. If we have more points than them at the end of the season everyone will perceive that Robbie has won the war of words. If it is the other way round, people will perceive Sir Alex has won it but it is inconsequential really."

Stoke boss Tony Pulis did not give a conclusive answer when asked if Mancini had refused to shake his hand after the game, and preferred to speak about the character of his players, who refused to let City impose themselves, and was particularly impressed by Crouch.

He said: "We have just played three games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs, all away, so this was a fantastic performance. They are an honest group of players who work very hard."

Source: PA

Source: PA