Premier League: Everton v Man City
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has admitted he regrets not signing an extra defender during the January transfer window.
The Italian wishes he had moved to bolster his rearguard after captain Vincent Kompany was injured in the FA Cup fourth round win at Stoke on January 26.
At the time City did not expect the 26-year-old’s calf problem to require as lengthy a lay-off but he has not played since and Mancini feels his absence has been a “big problem”.
“Probably we made a mistake because when we knew [of] this problem we were four days to [the] close [of] the market.
“Probably then we should maybe have bought another defender.
“Also, last year he had this problem, for one month he didn’t play. This is a big problem. For me we did a mistake in this case.
“We had a chance because we had one good defender but we didn’t think that Vinny would stay out for 40-45 days.”
City have also been without two other defenders in Micah Richards and Maicon through injury but their only major transfer activity in January saw striker Mario Balotelli leave the club.
Kompany’s prolonged absence has raised fears he may require surgery or miss the rest of the season but Mancini continues to play down the seriousness.
He said: “He starts to run and we hope that he will be ready for Newcastle (in two weeks). He started with us three or four days ago but he was tired because he worked a lot.
“His calf was tired but he didn’t have any problems.
“But we don’t want to take a risk at this moment because we have one game and after it is the international break. It is better we wait.”
Kompany’s absence has seen Kolo Toure, fourth-choice centre-back earlier in the season, return to form and prominence with four successive starts while 19-year-old Matija Nastasic continues to hold down a regular place. Joleon Lescott’s appearances therefore, have remained infrequent.
City face Lescott’s old club Everton today needing a win to keep alive their slim hopes of retaining the Barclays Premier League title.
Mancini hopes David Moyes’ men are still subdued after last weekend’s shock FA Cup quarter-final loss to Wigan.
“For them (today) will be important, for sure, because maybe they want to make (the) Europa League.”
Moyes, however, has denied last weekend’s shattering defeat will play any part in whether or not he signs a new contract at Everton.
The Scot celebrated 11 years in charge at Goodison Park on Thursday but it has been one of the more difficult weeks of his tenure following the 3-0 home loss to the Latics in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
His contract runs out at the end of the campaign and earlier this season he indicated the Toffees’ fortunes in the remaining games would play a big part in his decision.
Indeed, speculation has grown that Moyes may opt for pastures new.
But the 49-year-old said: “The decision at the end of the season will be made by me and the players and how well we all do together, how high we finish in the league. It’s never changed.
“I want the players to do well. You can see the way they’ve spoken this week, they’re saying they’re ambitious to finish as high up as they can, qualify for Europe if they can — well that’s the same as the manager and that’s what we’re going to try to work towards,” he added.
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