Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says he does not expect Edin Dzeko to be happy while being restricted to a place on the bench.
The 26-year-old striker was again summoned into action as a substitute, scoring the winning goal as the defending Premier League champions beat Tottenham 2-1 on Sunday.
The Bosnian has now bagged six goals in nine Premier League games, more than any of his rival team-mates despite making only three starts in the top flight this season.
“He is not happy,” Mancini told reporters after the match. “A player who is happy on the bench does not exist.”
Mancini was keen to emphasise the importance of the club’s striking depth – but neglected to mention Mario Balotelli, who was left out of the matchday squad despite seemingly being fit to play.
“We had three important strikers today,” Mancini continued.
“Last year we won the championship because of goals from our strikers.
“It was a huge win because it was a difficult moment. We had a lot of important players injured and today I saw the same spirit from the players that I saw last year.”
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas claimed that the game changed when the hosts equalised and believes Dzeko has the continual capacity to change the game from the bench.
“The key moment of the game came at 1-1,” the Portuguese said. “Because Man City had made some changes to put three at the back and go all-out attack.
“The goal comes from a counter-attack situation rather than the way they were playing from the start and 1-1 gave them an extra lift.
“It was also down to an individual moment of brilliance from Edin Dzeko, which I think is recurrent for a guy who continues to be on the bench, but who continues to come on to destroy opponents.”
Mancini, meanwhile, believes that his team are not strong enough to man-mark during set-pieces.
Steven Caulker gave Tottenham the lead by heading home a free kick in the victory at the Etihad Stadium.
Poor defending in dead-ball situations has plagued Mancini’s side this season, but despite criticism for their zonal set-up the Italian coach thinks they would fare even worse if they changed systems.
“We are not strong enough to mark man-to-man, and every time we do there is a risk of conceding a penalty,” Mancini said.
“If we work, we can improve the system. We have let in goals because of it, but we can change that. We are working on it, but we need to work more.”