Mancini livid as 'sleepy' City slip up in title race

Manager critical of goalkeeper Hart and his team's recent sloppy defending

Roberto Mancini launched an stinging attack on his Manchester City players last night accusing them of "sleeping" and conceding that their Premier League title hopes had taken a major blow after a 2-2 draw here with Birmingham City.

The Italian also did not rule out dropping the England goalkeeper Joe Hart after another uncertain performance. Asked whether he might re-think his choice of No 1, he said: "Anything is possible".

Craig Gardner's penalty, the second time Birmingham came back after goals from Carlos Tevez and Aleksandr Kolarov, leaves City eight points adrift of leaders Manchester United having played a game more. Tottenham's 1-0 win at Blackburn means that they are within four points of City having played one game fewer.

"We didn't play well," Mancini said. "I don't like it. It is better that we wake up. It [the gap to United] is too much but for us now it is important to start to play football again and better. I'm disappointed we conceded more goals – it is impossible to win if you concede two goals. We concede because we stop. We are the only team to concede two goals in the last six games. We slept. Probably we don't work well in training and we sleep in the game and it's better we wake up quickly."

Mancini also accused Kevin Phillips of "diving", after contact from Patrick Vieira, to win Birmingham's penalty.

Last night's scores

Birmingham 2 Man City 2

Blackburn 0 Spurs 1

Blackpool 1 West Ham 3

Bolton 1 Wolves 0

Fulham 1 Newcastle 0

Liverpool 2 Stoke 0



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