Mancini stands by squad decisions

Emmanuel Adebayor, Wayne Bridge and Roque Santa Cruz all departed Eastlands in search of regular first-team action, along with three of the younger members of the City squad who were given first-team exposure in the Carling Cup earlier in the campaign.

Yet now Mancini is bemoaning a lack of bodies as a reason for some of his side's more stuttering performances in recent times, including their 2-0 first-leg defeat to Dynamo Kiev in last week's Europa League last-16 clash.

City try to overturn that deficit at Eastlands on Thursday, still using the same group of players they have been forced to rely on since fixture congestion first became a problem in the middle of January. But Mancini is adamant he has not been the architect of his own downfall.

"If there are some players who want to leave because they wish to play every game, it is difficult," he said. "Should two or three players leave the club, you could buy two or three more. But we didn't think four or five important players would get injured in the space of 20 days."

Shay Given, James Milner and Adam Johnson have all been sidelined for extended periods, with a succession of minor injuries to be taken into account as well. In addition, Kolo Toure is suspended indefinitely pending an inquiry into his failed drugs test, robbing Mancini of another valuable option.

Source: PA

Source: PA