Belfast Telegraph

Mancini frustrated by schedule

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini feels his players now face a test of their nerve as they head into January after a frustrating draw at West Brom.

Mancini's men could now begin 2012 in second place as title rivals Manchester United are in action before City play at Sunderland on New Year's Day. The trip to the Stadium of Light comes at the start of a hectic month for City, with the first of three games against Liverpool coming two days later and an FA Cup tie with United also to follow.

Mancini said: "I'm disappointed only because we play January 1 and January 3, and Liverpool play December 29 and the third against us. I'm not happy with this situation because two days in this moment is not correct."

He added: "I don't know why this is - well maybe, it's for TV. To play twice in 48 hours will make a difference in this moment but we have good concentration and in January that is important.

"I think United will win the next game and it's more difficult for us against Sunderland away and then within 48 hours again."

West Brom head coach Roy Hodgson was proud of the effort of his players, which backed up an impressive victory at Newcastle.

Hodgson said: "We have got to be pleased with that, we knew the magnitude of the task. We had to be at our best to try to keep them at bay.

"It was a very disciplined, hard-working performance defensively.

"It was one of those games when we deserved the point we got and we got it by playing in the right manner.

"We don't stop many sides scoring - we are not a great clean-sheet team - so it was great to do it against a side of Man City's calibre."


From Belfast Telegraph