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Mancini Blames Players for Crucial Loss

Manchester City saw its Premier League title hopes all but vanish this weekend, losing 3-1 away to relegation-threatened Southampton, while league leader Manchester United beat Everton 2-0 at Old Trafford to extend its lead over City to 12 points with just 12 games remaining. In the end, the game at St. Mary’s was decided by individual errors from City’s Joe Hart and Gareth Barry; goalkeeper Hart dropped a tame shot from Rickie Lambert, which led to Southampton’s second goal, while Barry scored arguably the worst own goal of the season for Southampton’s third.

An irate Roberto Mancini refused to speak to his team after the game. In a press interview, he laid the blame firmly at their feet: "When you are a top player you should take responsibility," the Italian said. "It's not always the fault of the manager. The players should take the responsibility, if they have big balls. If not, they can't play in a top team."

Mancini told ESPN that Saturday’s performance was the club’s worst in two or three years. “I've never seen our team concede goals like this. In the end we made two incredible mistakes,” he said, referring to Hart’s error and Barry’s own goal. “The performance was really poor. We played this game with only two or three players. Three versus 11 was really difficult.”

When asked what chance City still has of retaining the Premier League title, Mancini said: "We have 10 percent, maybe … it'll be very difficult to win the league. I used to be always be optimistic and want to be in this moment, but it's difficult.”

Read the whole story at Independent »

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