Mancini believes Manchester City can improve

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Manchester City sat proudly at the top of the Barclays Premier League table this morning, but the victory over Bolton that put them there left manager Roberto Mancini stressing his side must do better.

The big spenders are expected to provide a real title challenge to rivals Manchester United and Chelsea this season, and they have begun impressively with two wins out of two.

But, unlike in their opening 4-0 victory over Swansea last week, City failed to put their opponents away despite dominating the chances and had to settle for a 3-2 scoreline.

Mancini praised the overall display of his side but was irked by the manner in which they conceded, first when Ivan Klasnic turned in Martin Petrov's cross just after Gareth Barry had put City two up and then when Kevin Davies reduced the arrears again 62 minutes in.

The Italian knows they must avoid such lapses if they are to stay at the top in the long term, and he said: "We dominated the game in the first half, they didn't have any chances, then we gave away the ball one time, Petrov crossed easily and it was a goal.

"The second was the same. If you don't mark, it's a problem. We had I don't know how many chances to score but until the last second the match was open."

Mancini certainly could have had no complaints about his side's attacking play, with Sergio Aguero, James Milner and Adam Johnson all going close to adding to their tally, which at seven goals from two games is the best in the division.

Last season Mancini was often criticised for a perceived overly negative approach, but he insisted there has been no change in the gameplan.

"Everyone says we are more offensive but every game last season we wanted to score two or three goals but it's not always possible," he said.

"We played well (yesterday), like last year and like the last game, it hasn't changed. It's important the team has a balance but it's important we don't concede stupid goals.

"I think the first six or seven games of the season are strange but I think we can score more goals than last year, and that's important."

Bolton boss Owen Coyle's emotions were similar to those of his opposite number, with the first and third goals disappointing from a defensive point of view, particularly David Silva's opener that somehow found a way past Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Coyle, though, refused to criticise any of his players and felt there were plenty of encouraging signs.

He added: "If there were mistakes made, they certainly weren't by anyone on purpose, and if anyone's made a mistake, they're the same players that have gone out and won us games.

"We don't apportion blame to anyone because our strength is as a group. Everybody's out there to do their very best, but mistakes will happen.

"We'll take our medicine, we're disappointed not to have taken anything from the game because regardless of the wealth and quality at their disposal we went toe to toe and were really positive, and that's how we'll continue to be.

"If someone's not been at their best, we'll pick them up, we'll go again and we'll stick together as we always do.

"It would have been very easy in that game at 2-0 down and 3-1 having lost an early goal in the second half to feel sorry for ourselves and come under the cosh, but we stuck at it valiantly and scored two terrific goals.

"There's an awful lot of positives and that's what we'll take from the match."