Mancini savors City rout of Reds

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini praised his players’ attitude after they beat Liverpool 3-0 at Eastlands in front of owner Sheikh Mansour.

Gareth Barry put the hosts ahead in the 14th minute, Carlos Tevez claimed he had got the faintest of touches on Micah Richards’ header seven minutes after the interval and the Argentinian converted a penalty.

It was City’s biggest victory over Liverpool for 73 years and they were well worth it, although the visitors were poor on the night.

Considering Liverpool regard City as their main rivals for a place in the top four the result could prove to be hugely significant – even this early in the season.

However, Mancini was wary of reading too much into the outcome.

"I thought we played well. We need time to gel and improve because we were missing four or five important players," he said.

"But the team played with a good mentality. If they play with a good mentality I think we can beat every team.

"We beat a strong team like Liverpool, who can fight for the title.

"This win helped us believe in ourselves and this is important."

The match was Sheikh Mansour’s first visit to Eastlands, having taken over almost two years ago, and Mancini was congratulated by him after the game.

"He was very happy because it was the first time he saw City beat Liverpool – I think it was a good night," added the Italian.

"I hope he can come every week, but I don’t think it is possible."

Mancini also singled out goalkeeper Joe Hart for praise after he produced a brilliant double save from David Ngog and Fernando Torres with the score at 2-0 to keep a clean sheet.

"If Liverpool had scored probably the match would have changed but they had only these chances in 90 minutes and I think we defended really well and Joe saved very well," said the City boss.

Manager Roy Hodgson, who saw his side concede a last-minute equaliser against Arsenal in their opening game, was unhappy with his side’s defending but is not too worried yet by their return of one point from two matches.

But even after just two matches Liverpool’s lowly 17th position will do little for morale.

Spirit within the camp was not improved before kick-off when midfielder Javier Mascherano was withdrawn from the squad after Hodgson said his "mind was not right" after being distracted by a £12million bid from Barcelona.

"I didn’t think we were under the cosh to the extent 3-0 might suggest and I think we might consider ourselves unlucky with that wonderful double save by Joe Hart," said the Liverpool manager.

"But we defended poorly for the goals and they took their chances well and I thought they played solidly and strongly throughout.

"They took charge of the game and we were always fighting to get back into it.

"You just have to accept on a night like tonight they we were unable to produce the level of performance necessary to get a good result."