Mancini empathises with unhappy stars

Roberto Mancini believes it would be “crazy” if he did not have a dressing room full of unhappy players.

The Manchester City boss is having to deal with weekly stories about player disenchantment at present.

First it was Craig Bellamy, who eventually left for Cardiff City on loan, now it is Shay Given and Emmanuel Adebayor.

At the weekend, Given highlighted his frustration with life at Eastlands, prompting Mancini to confirm the Republic of Ireland star would be allowed to quit in the summer, while it was also claimed the Italian has accused Adebayor of feigning injury.

It hardly paints a picture of harmony ahead of tomorrow’s Carling Cup trip to West Brom.

But with so many big names, and such a big squad, Mancini never thought it would be any other way.

“It is impossible that all the players are happy,” he said.

“At every club it is normal, 11 players are happy, the rest are not.

“If a player is happy when he doesn’t play, he is crazy. It is important that he is unhappy. It is also important that he continues to work so that I have a chance to change my mind.”

Mancini might not be changing his mind for the Hawthorns trip but he will be changing his team.

The Italian envisages up to seven changes from the team that won at Wigan on Sunday, even though Joleon Lescott and Jerome Boateng are still sidelined through injury.

Fitness permitting, Given and Adebayor are amongst those who will be called upon, with Mancini confirming anyone who wants to get his highly-rated number two goalkeeper on a permanent basis will not do so on the cheap.

“Shay is an important player and he will cost someone a lot of money,” said the City boss.

“I said Shay could leave the club if he wants and we have a good option but if he stayed it would be okay for me.”

Even with so many changes, a situation forced on Mancini by the looming top-of-the-table encounter with champions Chelsea at lunchtime on Saturday, the Italian’s team will still be expected to overcome a Baggies’ outfit coached by compatriot Roberto di Matteo.

The pair never played together, for club or country.

However, Di Matteo was one of the first people Mancini looked up when he was considering whether he should accept the offer to replace Mark Hughes last December.

“Roberto played here for many years at Chelsea and also knows Italian football very well,” confirmed Mancini.

“He explained a few things to me.

“He is a good guy and a good manager, who did a good job last year.

“It will be difficult for us tomorrow because he knows everything about us.”

Mancini accepts the Carling Cup is still the most obvious route to an end to City’s 36-year trophy drought.

Last season, City got as far as the semi-final stage, only to be beaten by a Wayne Rooney header in the last-minute of a tense two-legged semi-final against Manchester United.

At the time, Mancini and his team were devastated.

Now, he looks back with a positive attitude mixed in with the disappointment.

“Those games came at a very difficult moment for us, just as tomorrow’s game does,” he recalled.

“The defeat was difficult to take because over the two games we played at the same level and deserved to take the tie into extra-time against Manchester United.

“But when I look back now it was still a very important experience for us because we produced two good performances against them.”

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