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Mancini frustrated by ineffective strike force

Roberto Mancini says he expects more goals from his strike quartet after his side’s 1-1 draw with Everton on Saturday.

The Manchester City manager saw his team slip three points behind city rivals Manchester United on the Premier League table with Carlos Tevez’s penalty cancelling out Marouane Fellaini’s first-half strike at Etihad Stadium.

But after a disciplined defensive effort from Everton in the second half, Mancini was left frustrated at the productivity of front four Tevez, Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli.

“In this moment we are not very strong with our strikers. We need them to score more goals. They are four top strikers but this can happen during the season,” Mancini said.

“It is important they work hard like they worked today. Dzeko, Tevez, Sergio (Aguero), Mario (Balotelli) – in this moment we are like this but I think we will solve this problem.”

The home crowd jeered Mancini when he replaced Tevez with Aguero rather than the largely ineffective Dzeko, but the Italian explained his reasoning.

“I have my reason for this. I am not stupid. I understand the supporters,” he said.

“For the supporters, if I put on four strikers and take off four defenders, they are happy. But football is not like this.

“Everton can score only on set-pieces. I needed one or two players that could also help the defenders in this situation.

“I also thought that Dzeko could score one goal in that moment, not because Carlo played worse than Dzeko. Carlo played very well.”

Everton boss David Moyes said he was pleased to escape with a point but felt the penalty decision against his side was wrong.

“I’m pleased with a point but in a way disappointed by the goal that was given against us,” Moyes said.

“You come here and sometimes Manchester City their football is terrific and they can score good goals. But I felt the goal they got was really harsh.

“The fourth official said to us it was for a tug on (Leon) Osman – the ref told him it was for a tug on Osman – well it’s certainly not Osman.

“If he has got the player wrong and he says it is for Fellaini, well it’s never a penalty kick because if that’s what we are going to give then he is going to have to give loads of them.

“So I think if any team is coming here and they are going to get soft penalties awarded against them, then it is going to be hard to get a result.”

Sat 1 December, 2012
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