Roberto Mancini urges Edin Dzek to improve heading prowess

 

Roberto Mancini wants Edin Dzeko to become Manchester City's head boy.

Despite his towering size, the Bosnian was scoring only his second headed goal of the season in Monday night's win at Wigan.

It is a rather surprising statistic given Dzeko's tally for the campaign now stands at an impressive 14.

And with games starting to become tighter as their importance becomes more important, Mancini concedes it is an advantage City could make more of.

"I hope this is the start of a new Dzeko," said Mancini of the player who had gone 11 games without a goal.

"This guy deserves to be important. He deserves to score. That is important for the strikers.

"I certainly think we can exploit his size more.

"He can score with his head because he is strong in the air."

Although he was delighted to claim victory that allowed City to open up a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League, Mancini will not start to breathe easily until the middle of February, when Yaya Toure will be back from the African Nations Cup.

Defender Joleon Lescott, though, does not believe the situation is as grim as it had been painted following defeats by Manchester United and Liverpool.

"It has been funny," said the England defender.

"None of the boys thought we were cracking or something was going wrong. Then suddenly a big thing is made of it in the media.

"It was crazy. We sat there and thought, 'Wow, we must have arrived'.

"People were saying we weren't going to win the league and we are thinking, 'Hold on a minute, we have lost two cup games'.

"I don't think we are doing too badly."

In fact, Monday night's narrow victory was exactly the type of result that has been the bedrock of so many Manchester United championship triumphs down the years.

The major talking point was Roberto Mancini's touchline antics, which the Italian would be well advised to curb if he is to stop himself ending up in the kind of disciplinary strife he seems so anxious to avoid.

Heading into a weekend in which they face third-placed Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, and will finish only half an hour before United tackle Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, City could do with what Mancini likes to refer to as a "quiet" period to get on with their business.

"Tottenham have been talking us up but we haven't mentioned any other team," said Lescott.

"No disrespect to Spurs, our main rivals are Manchester United. They are second in the league and our focus should always be on the team immediately behind us."

PA

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