Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, has admitted there was a dressing-room bust-up with his captain, Carlos Tevez, at the weekend but dismissed concerns about the incident as "a load of tosh" and described it as "the alarm call everyone needed" after an anodyne first half against Newcastle United.
Mancini is understood to have taken issue with the impromptu half-time team talk Tevez had started before the manager arrived and told Tevez to sit down. But the Italian insisted yesterday that "there is a different [dressing-room] mentality than in Italy. Now and then a good shake-up is healthy here."
The City manager is clearly still indignant about Tevez's discontent with the new regime's double training sessions. "It's a myth. I've only imposed double training sessions for three to four days last season. Not once this season," Mancini said. "Yet the media go on and on with this." But he said that the row with Tevez, during which he initially told the player that he was going to be substituted, worked in the club's favour. "Con le palle" ("ballsy") was the expression the manager used to describe the captain's conduct.
"What happened happens in our dressing room," Mancini said. "And when it matters it is good that it happens. Against Newcastle, City slept in the first half and the confrontation with Tevez was the alarm call we needed. We sorted everything between us before the restart. When I took him off at the end we shook hands."
Mancini also questioned the approach of Adam Johnson, despite his match-winning performance on Sunday. "Adam is young, but has got what it takes," the manager said. "He only needs to understand it is not enough to dribble past an opponent six times to feel entitled to be at the top."