Roberto Mancini remains safe as he accuses Manchester City players of shirking responsibility after defeat to Southampton

Southampton 3 Manchester City 1

The future of Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will not be under consideration until the summer even if, as looks likely, the club are deposed as champions. But Khaldoon al Mubarak will need to be convinced the club have made progress in the 2012-13 campaign if he is to extend Mancini's City tenure into a fifth season.

The City chairman is extremely unlikely to feel there is any point in sacking Mancini mid-season, despite 6-4 odds on that outcome after Saturday's dismal 3-1 defeat at Southampton.

While Mancini looks increasingly likely to miss both of this season's targets – the Champions League knock-out stages and retention of the title – he will argue, as he first did last summer, that he has been damaged by poor work in the transfer window.

Mancini scrapped the pursuit of Eden Hazard when costs spiralled, but he also asked for Robin van Persie, Javi Martinez and Daniele de Rossi and ended up with none of them. He was delivered Maicon, another player he was intent on buying, but has no doubt who is to blame for failure.

"When you are a top player you should take responsibility," he said. "It's not always the fault of the manager. The players should take the responsibility, if they have big balls. If not, they can't play in a top team."

It is late to again be bemoaning the possibility that a squad assembled at such huge cost may be inadequate, but the manager's denial of blame also reflects on others, such as the former sporting director Brian Marwood.

"We did some mistakes in the summer and didn't improve our team," said Mancini, whose employers could consider moving on to a figure such as Swansea's Michael Laudrup to inculcate an entire footballing philosophy.

In replacing Nigel de Jong, Adam Johnson and Emmanuel Adebayor, more than £50m was spent on five players last summer. Of those, Javi Garcia was the only one to start on Saturday, and he looked out of position at centre-half, given the run-around by Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez.

If Mancini understates his own culpability, he was right about this performance in declaring: "We can lose if the other team play better than us but not like this. I don't want to see any player like today. If they play like this, they should stay at home. Usually we play well and if we don't, we put a team on the pitch but here we didn't. That was the problem. They played better than us and deserved to win. Congratulations to [Mauricio] Pochettino and Southampton."

The tribute was well deserved. While Southampton supporters were justifiably shocked by the decision to remove Nigel Adkins three weeks ago, they were mature enough not to take it out on the new man, whose philosophy of hard work, pressing and movement was perfectly demonstrated in the goals.

It is arguable that all were due to howlers by England internationals Gareth Barry (twice) and Joe Hart, but there was tenacity and imagination too. As Steven Davis, scorer of the second by courtesy of Hart's fumble, said: "You have to force people into mistakes, it doesn't just happen. Maybe people will say City didn't play well but I think that's because we didn't let them play well and put them under pressure. We will take a lot of positives from this and hopefully kick on."

Southampton have kicked on from bottom in November to six points clear of relegation now.

"Intelligent players with a great capacity to assimilate ideas and adapt," was how Pochettino summed up his new charges. In contrast, Mancini was in no mood for compliments.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence