Mancini defends his tactics

City were widely criticised for their performance in their 0-0 draw

at home to Birmingham last weekend, but Mancini felt that game

could have ended up the same as this one. “I don’t think there is a

lot of difference, because when we played Birmingham they had 10

men behind the ball,” he said. “In football, if you score one, the

result can change and you can score two or three. “Teams playing at

home play to win, that is the difference. It is difficult to win

here, Fulham are strong at home. “I think we did a fantastic

performance, the guys were fantastic because we played very well.”

Gareth Barry hailed the performance as their best of the season.

“Especially in the first half, it was the best we’ve played,” he

told Sky Sports 1. “It was a good chance to make an impression and

move up the league.” A number of the City players made a point of

going over to Hughes prior to the kick-off, and Barry admitted that

a respect still existed for him. “The players that Mark brought

here, maybe there’s five or six of us, have respect and we showed

it, but once the game started it was all about City and the three

points.” Hughes admitted his side had failed to perform, especially

in the first half. He said: “Man City were excellent in the first

half, probably the best I’ve seen them play this season. In

fairness, we allowed it to happen, we were too passive. “We needed

to close down quicker than we did. We lost a bit of belief after

the first goal. The one thing you don’t want to do is concede

early. We needed to be more aggressive. “I know the (Man City) guys

and their quality. They played exceptionally well. Credit to them

and Roberto.”