Mancini: Robinho has City future

BY foxsports • January 17, 2010

Roberto Mancini insists Robinho still has a future at Manchester City, despite his humiliating substitution in the defeat at Everton.

The Brazilian suffered the ignominy of being subbed after coming off the bench for Roque Santa Cruz, who sustained a calf problem, in Saturday evening's 2-0 defeat by Everton at Goodison Park.

Mancini explained his reasons for bringing on Shaun Wright-Phillips after seeing his side suffer their first defeat in five games in all competitions since he replaced Mark Hughes last month.

He said: "I had (Craig) Bellamy, Benjani (Mwaruwari), (Carlos) Tevez, Robinho - all strikers - so I decided to take one off.

"I needed a different kind of player.

"Is it the end of the line for Robinho? No. He is a good player. Like everyone in the squad he needs to work hard and play well."

Goals from Steven Pienaar and Louis Saha (penalty) gave Everton a deserved victory and damaged City's hopes of clinching a Champions League place.

Mancini admits they need time to develop and knows things will not happen overnight.

He may dip into the transfer market but stressed: "I am not a magician.

"I am a manager and I do not think I can change the situation in a month.

"But I believe we can improve game after game. That is possible.

"It is a long season."

Pienaar made the breakthrough in the 36th minute with a free-kick from 20 yards that evaded Shay Given at the goalkeeper's near post.

Everton stepped up the pace and Saha extended their lead in first-half stoppage time with his 13th goal of a productive season.

He coolly slotted home a penalty after having his shirt tugged outside and inside the box by Micah Richards.

Mancini felt the penalty was unjust, indicating that shirt-tugging was common in the Premier League.

He added: "For me it was not a penalty. You do not see it given for this reason in England - maybe in Italy.

"But we have to accept that Everton played very well and better than us."

Everton manager David Moyes could not hide his delight at securing the points after accusing City in his programme notes of "breaking the rules" and having "no class" in their pursuit of Joleon Lescott.

The England defender moved to Eastlands for £22million in the summer following a protracted transfer but sat out the match because of a knee injury.

Moyes said: "I think you enjoy wins when you feel you have not been treated right. I will do that but it has all gone now and I will try and move on.

"I think this performance has been coming. It is getting back to the standard we want to see.

"We have started getting one or two players back. There is a bit more confidence now and a bit of competition for places."

Lescott's replacement Sylvain Distin never gave his former club City an inch after recovering from injury before going off late in the second half with cramp.

Moyes added: "He was terrific. I should not really have used him. I was just hoping he would keep going and he did."


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