James Milner and Roberto Mancini presented a united front last night, dismissing talk of disquiet at Manchester City.
England winger Milner sat alongside his City boss at the a media conference scheduled to tee up today's Europa League Group A clash at Lech Poznan, with both men rejecting claims that the playing squad were dissatisfied with each other and their coach.
Successive defeats in the Barclays Premier League - to Arsenal and, more damagingly, Wolves - have led to reports of rows between key players and dressing room dissatisfaction with Mancini's methods.
Milner is one of the players implicated for his recent on-field disagreement with Yaya Toure but he is clear about the fact that destabilising stories are only helping to forge City's siege mentality.
"When we see nonsense written in the papers it pulls us closer together," he said. "When it seems like the whole world is against you, that is when you pull together.
"These things will make us stronger as a football club. You go through times when things aren't quite right and it's important to keep things right off the field.
"I've been at Newcastle and Leeds where the press seemed be outside the training ground whenever you drove in. We can't control what's off the field, we can only control results.
"(Having on-field disagreements) says we're very hungry to win football matches. We'd be worried if there wasn't that hunger because we're desperate to win trophies.
"In changing rooms up and down the country you'll see people disagreeing but it's forgotten as soon as you step off the pitch. We're a tight group."
Mancini, reacting to claims he had fallen out with the Toure brothers Yaya and Kolo - both of whom have been left in Manchester with minor injury complaints - was also clear.
Asked if he was losing the dressing room, the Italian said: "It's not true, it's false. But if there's someone who wants to write these lies then I'm very happy for them. But no, it's not true."
City are virtually assured passage to the last 32 of the Europa League, regardless of tonight's result, but there is encouraging news ahead of the weekend match against West Brom.
Captain Carlos Tevez, who has been both injured and homesick, should return to Manchester today and while that rules him squarely out of the Europa action, Mancini is already considering his next league line-up.
"We will change some players for tonight; it's impossible to play the same players always," said Mancini.
"But tomorrow he (Tevez) will be in Manchester and I think he will be ready for West Brom on Sunday. If he is okay then he should be."Reuse content