Edin Dzeko sends a message to his manager

 

Edin Dzeko told his Manchester City manager that "the goals are my message, that's the only thing" as his seventh strike of the season – and sixth as a substitute – pressed his case for a starting place.

The Bosnian striker might well have left the club this summer, had Roberto Mancini received the new players he wanted. In April, when Eden Hazard and Napoli's Edinson Cavani were within Mancini's sights, a move to Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund was on the cards for the 26-year-old. There was an acceptance from the top of the club that Dzeko was a player who needed to be loved – a trait not necessarily in his manager's repertoire.

But City have now won all nine Premier League games in which Dzeko has scored as substitute and, after taking their unbeaten home Premier League run to 35 games, the pressure to start with him in the team more often is growing.

"It's not the first time we came from behind," Dzeko said of City's 2-1 win against Tottenham. "It showed our character and that we are strong. Even when we are losing, we can come back. I hope next time we start winning 1-0 before we win the game, because this is much harder to play."

Mancini, who did not address the press, told the BBC: "He [Dzeko] is not happy. A player who is happy on the bench does not exist." Another of City's unhappy players is Mario Balotelli after the striker was given no place in the squad. City did not yesterday dismiss reports that Balotelli may be heading out of the club, possibly bound for AC Milan,

Tottenham's manager, Andre Villas-Boas, said that "the key moment" came when Mancini changed his tactical formation to 3-4-2-1 and allowed Spurs space at the back to exploit.

"It was the moment we were finding more spaces," said Villas-Boas. "We were finding better gaps, more spaces. And then the [winning goal] came from a counter-attacking situation."

Joleon Lescott was deemed unfit for yesterday's game despite two days back in training. Samir Nasri had been ill for a few days. Gaël Clichy will have an injection for a back injury today.

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