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

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week