Belfast Telegraph

Mancini urges Manchester City to deliver new faces before the deadline

By Tim Rich

Roberto Mancini goes into the final week of the transfer window insisting that the players Manchester City sign before it closes on Friday will have a significant impact on their season.

The signing of Swansea's winger, Scott Sinclair, is due to be completed tomorrow for a fee of £6.2m while, despite what he sees as Athletic Bilbao's exorbitant demands, the signing of Spain international Javi Martinez may also be settled before the deadline. However, City will face fierce competition from Bayern Munich, who may be prepared to meet Bilbao's price of €40m (£32m).

Sinclair will be a straight replacement for Adam Johnson, whose departure to Sunderland was sanctioned on Friday, while Martinez's attraction is that he can play both as a centre-half and as a holding midfielder. Thus far, the champions' defence has been unusually fragile in the three matches they have played this season.

"We need to bring players in and we have five days in which to do it," said Mancini in the wake of a thrilling 2-2 draw at Liverpool, which since Manchester City have won once at Anfield since 1981 might be counted a decent point.

"We have to work hard for these four or five days. It will be a very long week for us." When asked if this week might decide how Manchester City defend their title, Mancini replied: "Yes. We have our targets and we must go for them."

One Sunday newspaper suggested that Mancini's frustrations at the failure of the club's football administrator, Brian Marwood, to reinforce the champions were so great that he was considering resignation. "If a newspaper sells a lot of copies by printing that, then I am happy for them," Mancini laughed.

He was, however, not smiling at the free-kick awarded against his one major summer signing, Jack Rodwell, for handball that allowed Luis Suarez to put Liverpool 2-1 ahead. The ball struck fiercely by Steven Gerrard hit the former Everton midfielder and rolled up to strike his arm. Mancini compared it to the penalty, awarded against Micah Richards, that cost Manchester City a place in last season's League Cup final. "It was not a penalty then and it was not a free-kick now," he said. "We played very well in the first 30 minutes and you should score in these moments, if you want to win a game at Liverpool."

A man who had once expected never to have to work with Carlos Tevez again reacted positively to the Argentine's suggestion that he was enjoying his time so much at Manchester – a city he dismissed as having "two good restaurants" – that he might remain at Eastlands beyond the expiry of his contract in two years' time. "If he continues playing like this, then yes," said his manager.

Having scored in each of City's three fixtures, Tevez was in ebullient mood last night, dedicating his goal to Villa La Nata, a club in Argentina.

"I would have no problem staying," he said. "My family are here, my children are here. I am happy and my wife is happy. I have two years on my contract and I could stay longer. The new season has been good to me. I have lost seven kilos, which is good for me and good for the club.

"Last year was difficult. But now is now. The problems of last season are finished. Now I am happy, Roberto is happy and the club is happy."

Despite a fine performance, the Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, was unhappy his team did not finish with three points. He did, however, exonerate Martin Skrtel for the back-pass that gave City a way back into the match. "It is all part of the journey," he said. "There will be no blame from me."

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