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Mancini hits out at scheduling

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is frustrated by the heavy load of fixtures his side are facing.

The Premier League champions rescued a point in a 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund midweek in the Champions League but will be back in action on Saturday against Sunderland.

“We play Saturday, 12.45. I don’t understand this. It’s incredible. We play Wednesday night, then we play Saturday 12.45. Now we have two days and 12 hours to recover very well,” Mancini said.

Mancini knows only too well the threat Sunderland pose having been the only side last season to take points off City in home and away fixtures.

Martin O’Neill’s side led 3-1 with five minutes to go at Etihad Stadium before City rallied late on to secure a precious point in their title push.

And after seeing his side snatch a point against Dortmund late on, Mancini said he would be happy to avoid more late drama against Sunderland.

“It’s very difficult because every time Sunderland play against us, they play a fantastic game,” he said.

“But from this game against Sunderland last year there is a connection. I think this point (against Dortmund) in the Champions League will be important in this group.

“Last year, the point we got against Sunderland when we were 3-1 (down) with five minutes to go, and after we equalised in the end with (Alekzander) Kolarov, was an important point in the league.

“I think we need to remember that game, it’s important we get three points. Also it will be a tough game.”

Winger Adam Johnson will return to Manchester to face his old side as a Sunderland player for the first time, but Mancini insisted there was no bad blood between either party.

“I think that Adam (Johnson) played well here. The problem (was) maybe that he didn’t play always.

“For a player like him it’s important to play every game. And I’m sure that he’ll do well and go to another top team because he deserves this. He’s a good guy and a good player.”

Fri 5 October, 2012
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