Players must take responsibility for Manchester City shortcomings, says manager Roberto Mancini

City's defence of their Barclays Premier League crown looks doomed

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has made clear he expects players to take their share of responsibility for the team's shortcomings.

City's defence of their Barclays Premier League crown looks doomed with Manchester United 15 points clear at the top of the table.

The champions, who have 11 games remaining, can cut the deficit back to 12 with victory at struggling Aston Villa but their title odds would remain considerable.

Mancini has not shied away from criticising players he feels have under-performed - and recently made some outspoken comments about the form of Samir Nasri and Joe Hart - and he feels that is something they should accept.

The Italian said: "I say what I think and sometimes it's important that one player takes his responsibility because when you are a top player you earn a lot of money and you should play at 100 per cent always.

"When I was a player I always took responsibility. When I didn't play well, I said, 'Sorry I didn't play well and will do my best in the next game,' and it should be like this.

"I don't like players that never think it's their fault.

"These players can't play with me because this is impossible.

"I want strong players that are upset with me when they don't play but after that show me on the pitch that they deserve to play."

City have found it difficult this season to live up to the lofty expectations they created for themselves by winning last season's championship in such dramatic and exhilarating fashion.

United's form since winning the derby at the Etihad Stadium in December has been relentless and City have not only been unable to claw back the difference, but have fallen further back.

Yet finishing second would still be no mean feat for a club that has come as far as City have in such a short time and Mancini acknowledges that.

He said: "It's difficult to win a championship here. We won last year but we won very quickly.

"Usually when you manage a team that hasn't won for 40 years, I think that you need four, five or six years to win a Premier League.

"We won the championship after two years and it's clear it's more difficult the year after, but we had the chance."

Mancini has stated often enough in the past month that he has not given up the chase and, if so, City cannot afford to drop points at Villa Park.

The Blues lost to another relegation-threatened side in Southampton last month and a similar result would be unthinkable.

City are again likely to be without captain Vincent Kompany due to his calf problems but midfielder Gareth Barry is fit to face his former club after an ankle injury.

PA

News
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Pandas may be more sociable than previously thought
news
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Arts and Entertainment
Written protest: Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, has sent an open letter to the Culture Secretary
books
Sport
footballDoes Hodgson's England team have an identity yet?
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss