|English Premier League: The whole team is frustrated, says Mancini|
25 September 2012
MANCHESTER: Roberto Mancini played down talk of another altercation with his volatile Italian forward Mario Balotelli as Manchester City’s frustrating start to their Premier League title defence continued with a 1-1 draw at home against Arsenal.
After the final whistle, Balotelli was pushed down the tunnel by City manager Mancini after shouting in his direction as he left the field, presumably discussing why he had played just the final six minutes of the game.
“I don’t know what happened, but it’s not important,” said Mancini, understandably concentrating more on the loss of two points.
“We have this problem, we don’t close the game and after that it’s clear we don’t take our chances. We had the game under control, only for the last 10 or 15 minutes. We were too deep. The point is that we need to close the game when we have the chance to score.
“I am frustrated but also the players are frustrated because if you want to win, clean sheets are important.”
There was little doubt that Arsenal manager Wenger could take far greater satisfaction from a performance that maintained the Gunners’ unbeaten start to the season.
“It’s frustrating though because we had room to do more,” said Wenger. “We had early chances, late chances, I think of the one from Gervinho from the edge of the box. But, overall, I hope the game will reinforce our belief and our confidence and re-assure us about our potential in this league.
“I believe Laurent Koscielny had a great game and stepped in very well. For me, we have three classy centre-backs and it’s a very difficult choice now.
“Koscielny,(Per) Mertesacker, Vermaelen — no matter who is left out can feel it is not right. So we will take them and choose a little bit considering the strikers we are playing against.”
Spurs boss hails Defoe
Meanwhile, Andre Villas-Boas revelled in his first home win as Tottenham manager, but was quick to praise the goal-scoring knack and consistency of England striker Jermain Defoe.
Spurs came back from a goal down to defeat London rivals QPR 2-1 at White Hart Lane through an Alejandro Faurlin own-goal and a Defoe strike from close-range.
“Defoe is performing at the top level,” said Villas-Boas of a player whose future at the club has been a source of constant speculation. “He has had his opportunities this season and he is taking them tremendously.”
In other matches, Brendan Rodgers has been hailed as one of the most innovative young managers in the Premier League. But he reached for the old explanations of wishing for a change of luck after a 2-1 defeat by Manchester United.
“I remember last year Arsenal didn’t get off to a great start,” said Rodgers. “We are seeing some positive moments. I have got great confidence, the group have been absolutely fantastic. We are all behind it. Very soon our luck will change.”
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