Mancini thanks City fans for support

The result, secured by a first-half brace from Mario Balotelli,

eased some of the pressure that has been mounting on Mancini by

halting City’s run of three successive defeats in all competitions.

Balotelli’s afternoon took a turn for the worse in the second

period when he was red-carded having tangled with Youssouf Mulumbu

– who was also sent off late on for scything down Carlos Tevez.

Otherwise, though, it was an encouraging day’s work for City which

left them fourth in the Premier League, five points behind leaders

Chelsea and three behind second-placed Manchester United, their

opponents at Eastlands in the forthcoming derby on Wednesday. The

away supporters at the Hawthorns showed their appreciation at the

end of the match and Mancini said: “I am very happy with this and I

must say thank you to them. It is very important they always

support the team.” Asked if the fans at his previous club Inter

Milan had done the same, Mancini smiled as he said: “After we won

three Scudetti (titles), yes!” If such support for the Italian has

not been in great evidence of late, then the frustration of City’s

recent struggles amongst the playing staff has certainly been more

apparent. After reports of a half-time spat between James Milner

and Yaya Toure during the 3-0 loss to Arsenal on October 24,

Vincent Kompany and Emmanuel Adebayor had a heated on-pitch

exchange in the 2-1 defeat at Wolves the next weekend. On Sunday it

was Kompany and Toure who appeared to lose their temper with each

other on the field, but Mancini insists he would rather that than

the players keep a lid on their problems. “I am happy to see this,”

Mancini said. “It is important that we won and it is better that

players sometimes argue on the pitch than stay in silence.” Mancini

felt his side’s slump in results prior to Sunday’s triumph was not

a fair reflection of how they have been playing. “Clearly, when you

have lost two or three games, the atmosphere is not good, but it

was important that we continued to work because sometimes you can

lose games when you don’t deserve to lose,” he said. “We lost the

game in Poland (against Lech Poznan in the Europa League) and it

was incredible – we deserved to win, but lost in the last few

minutes. “Against Arsenal, it was incredible because of the red

card (to Dedryck Boyata) after only five minutes. “Against Wolves,

I think we had five chances to score in the first half hour and

then lost the game. “Through this, it is important that we have

stayed together and in the end we have got what we wanted.” West

Brom boss Roberto Di Matteo admitted City were value for their win.

“It is fair to say that they were very good and I think we need to

give credit to them,” Di Matteo said. “They never let us settle in

to the game, especially in the first half. “We tried to press them,

but they were good, passing the ball around very quick with

one-touch and having good possession. “They had some quality

players on the pitch so it was difficult for our boys. “In the

second half we managed to get closer to them and put them a little

bit under pressure but it was a bit unfortunate – we hit the post

and the crossbar. “Maybe if we had got one goal back it would have

lifted the whole crowd and ourselves a little more and given us a