Rosler on the offensive at Ball's tactics

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The Independent Online
The first hint that Manchester City players are not wholly won over by the methods of their new manager, Alan Ball, emerged yesterday when Uwe Rosler criticised the tactics being employed by the Premiership's bottom club.

The German striker, who scored 22 times last season in a struggling team, said that too much emphasis has been placed on defence as City have gained only a point in seven matches. "It has been a frustrating season for me so far," he said, "because I don't think I'm being given the chance to score goals.

"A striker is only as good as the service he receives and we are just not getting the ball into the areas where I have a chance of scoring. The way we have been playing Jurgen Klinsmann, Alan Shearer or Les Ferdinand wouldn't have been able to score."

Rosler has been offered a long-term contract which he has not signed because of a disputed clause that is the subject of negotiations with the club's chairman, Francis Lee. He denies he wishes to leave Maine Road, however.

"I keep reading I'm about to join another club in the Premiership or move back home to Germany but these stories are completely untrue. Neither I nor my representative have been approached by anyone regarding a move. My feelings have never changed from the day I arrived in Manchester. I love City and I love the supporters."

City, meanwhile, have missed out on signing Oldham Athletic's Paul Bernard who has agreed instead to join Aberdeen in a pounds 800,000 transfer. Ball had hoped to put together a player-exchange deal for the Scottish international midfield player but Oldham opted for the money.

The 22-year-old has been given permission to hold talks with the Aberdeen manager, Roy Aitken, and is likely to complete the move today.

Bernard, playing on a week-to-week contract after turning down a new contract at Oldham, has made it clear that a move north of the border would boost his international career.

Oldham's secretary, Terry Cale, said: "We have agreed terms for the transfer. Paul is now in Scotland sorting out his personal terms and if he passes a medical the deal will go through.

"It's always sad to lose a young player, especially one that's home-grown, but as far as Oldham goes it is all a matter of economics - the income from ticket sales just doesn't cover the expenses of running the club."