Mancini: City must be united to win title
Published 22:30 12/03/12 By David McDonnell
Roberto Mancini has laid down the law to his Manchester City players - and warned he will not tolerate any more public shows of dissent.
Yaya Toure and Mario Balotelli clashed during City's 1-0 defeat to Swansea, while Gareth Barry made clear his anger at being subbed after just 37 minutes.
Mancini has had to cope with such episodes throughout this season, with several of his squad having clashed with each other during games and training sessions.
But in the wake of the shock defeat at Swansea that saw City slip a point behind Manchester United after five months in top spot, Mancini decided to get tough with his bickering and whinging players.
Explaining the decision to sub Barry before half-time, Mancini said: "Gareth has had a problem for three weeks and they had a lot of possession in the first 30 minutes.
"We needed another striker to press the ball.
"He wasn't happy, but I decide this. He has to accept [that] I am the manager."
Mancini also claimed tiredness is one of the reasons City's title bid has run into trouble, with the demands of combining Premier League and Europa League commitments taking a toll on his players.
City relinquished top spot for the first time since October - aside from a 24-hour period last month - following Sunday's defeat.
Mancini's men are back in harness on Thursday when they try to overturn Sporting Lisbon's 1-0 lead in the second leg of a Europa League last-16 tie, and Mancini said: "When you play every three days you can be tired sometimes.
"We have two problems at the moment - the injuries to important players and the fact that we play every three days. The title is long, but clearly at this moment United's confidence is better.
"But it [defeat to Swansea] doesn't change anything. What is important is to be there at the end and this is what we want.
"In football you never say never. When you think they will win, or we will win, they can lose. Football is very strange."
City were without first-choice central defensive duo Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott at Swansea because of calf and groin injuries respectively, and Mancini admits he has no idea when they will return.
"I don't know this," said the City boss. "I hope they come back soon, but I don't know."