David Platt defends Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini following Italian's recent outbursts

 

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was simply wearing “his heart on his sleeve” during his midweek outburst, according to his number two David Platt.

Mancini angrily confronted referee Peter Rasmussen after a controversial end to his side's vital Champions League clash with Ajax at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

The Italian also clashed with a cameraman after walking across the pitch to meet the official, who disallowed a late City goal and declined an injury-time penalty appeal. Mancini later said he had told the cameraman to stop filming.

There were fears the City boss could incur a touchline ban for his actions but neither Rasmussen nor the match delegate reported the incidents to European governing body UEFA.

First-team coach Platt said: "I don't think he is the first manager to go onto the pitch.

"If you go on to Wikipedia you'll see he has done it before, not just as a manager but as a player. He wears his heart on his sleeve."

Sergio Aguero thought he had won the game when he turned the ball home in the 88th minute but an offside flag had already been raised against Aleksandar Kolarov.

Mario Balotelli then appealed for a late penalty for a shirt pull but the Danish referee blew the final whistle.

Defending Mancini further, Platt said: "Why wouldn't the manager of a football club be frustrated? Why wouldn't we all be frustrated?

"Players are frustrated, supporters are frustrated, staff are frustrated.

"Robbie has gone onto the pitch and spoken to the referee. As he comes back, he turns around and has a camera in front of his face for 30 yards.

"He turns around and says, in English, that basically it is enough now.

"People then want to start talking about what has happened and almost exaggerating the incident."

The matter sparked further scrutiny of Mancini's position after a number of reports speculating about his future in recent weeks.

Just a day previously, the former Inter Milan boss had lost his temper when asked by the press for clarification on his previous statement that he had been "close to seven or eight teams" last season.

That in turn had come about following reports he held discussions with Monaco last season.

Platt said: "We can sit here and drag it on for another three days but that's what seems to be the thing that is happening to us at this moment in time - half-voices, half-truths, stories that are probably big enough to go one day are actually lasting a lot longer than that and for what reason, I don't know.

"The manager, for three or four press conferences, has not spoken about the next game but about what people want to write about."

Platt was speaking after Mancini chose not to attend City's latest press conference, to preview Sunday's Barclays Premier League game against Tottenham. When asked why the manager was not present, Platt said: "Because I've been asked to come.

"He has got a couple of things he needs to do. He is fine, why wouldn't he be?"

City had needed to beat Ajax to retain realistic hope of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The 2-2 draw left them bottom of Group D with just two points from four games and needing to beat Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund to have any hope of progressing.

Even then they will need other results to fall in their favour to prevent premature elimination from Europe's elite competition for a second successive season.

Platt said: "It's not mission impossible. It never is.

"It is mission impossible as and when, mathematically, you can't qualify for the Champions League.

"We have given ourselves a mountain to climb.

"But by quick maths we have got Tottenham and Aston Villa before our next game in the Champions League."

In spite of their European problems and recent concerns about their general form, City remain unbeaten in the Barclays Premier League and are third ahead of Spurs' visit.

Playmaker David Silva has an outside chance of playing after returning to training following a five-game absence with a hamstring injury.

Right-back Maicon, who was surprisingly named on the bench on Tuesday, is also back in contention after suffering a foot injury in September while centre-back Joleon Lescott has overcome a back problem.

Platt said: "They are available for selection at this moment in time.

"But we have got two more training sessions and if one of them feels something - you can do that when you are coming back from injury, you can feel it is not quite right without having a setback.

"Then you'd look at a precaution but at this moment in time they have all got a chance."

PA

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