Manager refuses to blame referee after players' lapse

 

Television replays might have shown that Sunderland's Ji Dong-won was standing in an offside position before plundering the 93rd-minute goal that beat Manchester City on Wearside yesterday but Roberto Mancini directed his post-match ire at his own players rather than the officials.

The City manager was so stung by the late sucker punch, which came on the counter-attack with the bulk of his players camped out around the home penalty area, pressing for a winner, he turned on his heels and disappeared down the tunnel before waiting for the final whistle.

The 1-0 loss to a Sunderland side severely depleted by injury and illness blew City's chance to go clear on points at the top of the Premier League table. They remain ahead of Manchester United only on goal difference, after failing to capitalise on their rivals' shock 3-2 home defeat by Blackburn. "I hope the players understand they can't defend like that," Mancini said. "I hope they understand that we've lost a big chance.

"I am disappointed to concede the goal, like that, on the counter-attack. The last 10 minutes I was shouting at the players not to lose their places. Sometimes we wanted to attack with 10 players. You cannot do this."

For the second match in succession, after the 0-0 draw at West Bromwich on Boxing Day, Mancini's men drew a blank on goals. "You cannot score four goals every game," he said. "We had many chances in the second half but sometimes this happens. That does not worry me. It worries me that we do not have players on the pitch who understand the situation at the end. We are a top team and we cannot concede goals like this. Yes, the player was offside but I did not speak to the referee. I have told the players that I am disappointed. It is not good enough for a top team."

Mario Balotelli was missing after taking a slight ankle knock in training on Saturday but Mancini said: "I hope he will be OK for Liverpool [tomorrow]."

As for Sunderland, they go to Wigan tomorrow in 13th place, having won three and drawn one of the five matches they have played since Martin O'Neill replaced Steve Bruce. The inspiration and influence of the new manager were clear throughout a dogged Sunderland performance.

"The roar for the goal was deafening," O'Neill said. "I was even more delighted to hear the roar for the final whistle. It was just a remarkable performance by the team. We had a couple of illnesses and a few injuries to contend with and for us to win the game was just extraordinary. I accept that Manchester City were camped outside our penalty area for the last 20 minutes but for us to get six players up in support on the break in the 93rd minute was tremendous.

"It was offside – marginally. But we ended up winning the game. We're delighted with the three points. It was a fantastic effort, epitomised by the captain. I thought Lee Cattermole was brilliant today."

Cattermole deservedly picked up the man-of-the-match award but central defender John O'Shea applauded O'Neill too. "Fantastic credit has to go to the manager for giving us that bit of belief," the former Manchester United defender said. "He made sure of that at half-time.

"It's a huge result. United had a disappointing result yesterday. This will have cheered them up."

O'Neill added: "I do have sympathy for Manchester City. They play Liverpool tomorrow and Liverpool have had two days extra to recover."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve