Mancini faces FA fine but Moyes is free to keep up run

Everton seek sixth win in eight at Wolves while City manager is charged for fracas
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The Independent Online

The Manchester City chief executive, Garry Cook, has telephoned the multi-millionaire guest of Everton with whom he was involved in a midweek verbal altercation in the City director's box and resolved the matter, though Cook's manager Roberto Mancini is facing a Football Association fine having been charged with improper conduct over his own dispute with David Moyes.

The Everton directors' guest George Downing feels the matter is closed. There was no suggestion from Downing yesterday that Cook had felt the need to apologise for his own conduct and City still harbour indignation that Everton demanded an explanation for an incident which will fuel a lively atmosphere when the two clubs next meet.

Mancini was charged by the FA yesterday while Moyes was not, and though City are yet to decide whether to mount a challenge, the club are taking some encouragement from the widespread support for their manager over this incident and his immediate apology, which offers grounds for mitigation. Mancini, whose relative inexperience in British football will also be offered in his defence, is highly unlikely to face a touchline ban – with a fine more probable.

City's inquiries into precisely what Craig Bellamy said to his manager in the tunnel in the tempestuous closing stages of the 2-0 defeat to Everton are yet to get under way, as the players and Mancini had a day off yesterday because City do not play until Monday, at home to Wigan. Moyes was coy about suggestions that Bellamy may have spoken in support of him, following the touchline fracas. "Did he ...? Oh I couldn't comment on it. I'm not going there," Moyes said.

The Everton manager also provided some badly needed perspective to a significant week in relations between the two clubs. Of Mancini's decision to rush in and grapple a ball off him, Moyes declared: "I'd probably have done the same in my time and run in and tried to grab the ball quickly. I've done it before – tried to grab the ball and speed things up.

"I understand what he was trying to do, win for his team. He was eager for his team to try and get back in the game so I've no problem at all with that."Neither did Mancini's conduct surprise him. "We might think that [it's surprising] but Arsène Wenger looks like the coolest man in football and we know Fergie's had it in his earlier years as a manager. It comes with the job, you are emotional, you are trying to do everything you can for your team and getting things to go for your team."

Moyes also praised Mancini for the rapid apology. "He did it in the open as well – in the corridor. He was very good. He came up and it was in front of quite a lot of TV reporters and journalists."

The win at Eastlands cements Everton's position as the league's form side, with two defeats in 17 and the outside chance of a top-four place. They could draw abreast of Liverpool by tonight if they win at Wolves. Everton probably need to win all of their games to sneak into fourth. "It's possible [we can do that]," Moyes reflected. "I think it's unlikely, though, because the Premier League doesn't always work that way. Teams like Manchester United and Chelsea would expect to win seven games out of seven, or win six and draw one – that would be their expectation and that's what we need to have. This is a time of a year when their players think we have to win, there's no second chances now. That's why their clubs tend to be the winners come this time of the season."

Remarkably, given their comparatively modest means, three points at Molineux would also put Everton just two points behind City. Little wonder, it was put to Moyes, that Everton grate on City. "Their circumstances have changed," he reflected. "They have a lovely new stadium, all singing and dancing, and a very wealthy owner. So the [old] similarities [between us] have changed greatly in a very short period of time. It's how you handle it and how you behave when you get these things."

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