Mancini: City's cavaliers need to be boring again

One clean sheet in nine matches gives Italian manager cause for concern

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The Independent Football

Roberto Mancini yesterday dropped the first hint that Manchester City will rein in the runaway style that has brought them the top division's most prolific opening to a season for almost 50 years.

Not since Tottenham scored 44 goals in 1963 have any team matched City's 42 from the first dozen games. Spurs' run also included a 7-2 defeat (by Blackburn) and while his team have not suffered as badly as that, Mancini is concerned by having kept only one clean sheet in the past nine matches. The manner of Napoli's two goals in a critical Champions' League defeat last Tuesday infuriated him, and he wants City to revert to the meaner defensive approach of last season.

"We can't always score three or four goals," he said. "Sometimes we should pay more attention to not concede a goal. If we are the best defence in the Premier League, we need to improve. In Champions' League we conceded six in five games and this is too much."

Micah Richards and Gaël Clichy are expected to return at full-back in today's game away at Liverpool, when City hope to extend a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League over second-placed Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Juventus are intent on hijacking Carlos Tevez's proposed move to Milan. The Turin club are reported to have approached Tevez with a view to a £3.5 million loan deal until the end of the season. He would then be offered a permanent three-year deal.

Tevez's team-mate Sergio Aguero has admitted he will end his career at the club where he started it, Independiente, but revealed that he hopes to see out his five-year contract at Manchester City.

The £35 million striker has adapted seamlessly to life in the Premier League since his summer move from Atletico Madrid, scoring 11 times in 17 appearances as Roberto Mancini's side, who travel to Anfield this afternoon, have raced clear at the top of the table.

The 23-year-old already feels so at home in Manchester that he is ready to devote the best years of his career to the Etihad Stadium club, but he hopes to return to his homeland not only to retire, but to allow his son, Benjamin, to enter his former side's youth ranks.

"I would like to go back to Independiente to retire, to round off my career," said Aguero. "I was there from the age of nine and I was a fan, so it means a lot to me. But I hope to have many years in Europe first and more than anything I want to stay at least for the five at City that I signed a contract for.

"And then, looking to the future, yes, I would like to go back to Independiente to retire. Benjamin will play for Independiente like I did, but he will start when he is the same age as I was, so it will be in a few years' time."