Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini tells defenders to adapt or sit in the stands

‘‘The next time we play this system [a back three], Micah Richards can stay on the bench”

Roberto Mancini risked stirring further unrest among his Manchester City squad by insisting that those who do not fall into line with his methods have a limited future.

Micah Richards, who suggested his fellow defenders were unhappy with the way City resorted to a back three in the catastrophic defeat to Ajax on Wednesday, was told he could expect to watch from the bench if he did not understand the system.

"With this system we have got a result every time," Mancini said. "Maybe Micah doesn't know this because he has been out for two and a half months.

"He has probably worked on it less than other players but the next time we play this system Micah can stay on the bench and we will use another player who understands the system."

Mancini's observation that three central defenders "get a result every time" does not bear much scrutiny. The results they achieved against first Liverpool and then Aston Villa were a 2-2 draw and a 4-2 defeat that pitched them out of the League Cup.

Nevertheless, Mancini made it clear that he expects some highly-paid defenders to be able to adapt to their manager's instructions. "If you are a top player, it is not important what system you use," he said. "If you don't understand that, then you are not a top player and you cannot play for a top club."

Facing yet another failure in the Champions League, a competition in which he has never gone past the quarter-finals as a manager, Mancini, whose side face Swansea at home today, was as agitated as many had seen him at a press conference.

When it was suggested to him that it was not a coincidence that City's defensive performances had begun to slide since the appointment in the summer of Angelo Gregucci, who speaks no English, as a defensive coach, Mancini said "stop, stop, stop" before pointing out that Gregucci had taken "maybe one" session.

Nevertheless, it may be significant that the men who appear most unhappy with City's direction are English – Joleon Lescott, Gareth Barry and Richards. However, if there is dressing-room unrest as some have alleged, the man who brought the first championship to the club since 1968 appears indifferent to it.

"People tell me what is in the newspapers yesterday and this morning but I am not frustrated by it and I am not interested in it," Mancini said.

"I respect your job but I have my opinion about everything. My head won't go down after one or two defeats. I give my opinion and, like everyone else, I can make a mistake."

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Sport
football
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
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

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?