City slackers! Fuming Mancini slaps down beaten stars for lack of courage
22:27 GMT, 18 September 2012
Roberto Mancini accused his Manchester City team of lacking courage as they conceded two late goals to lose 3-2 to Real Madrid on a thrilling Champions League night in the Bernabeu.
City led 2-1 after 86 minutes but were hit by sucker punches from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo to end the night heartbroken.
‘We wouldn’t have conceded if we hadn’t been so deep,’ said an angry Mancini, who also publicly slapped down goalkeeper Joe Hart. ‘We should have had more courage at this time.’
Can't believe it: Joe Hart is dejected after Manchester City conceded two late goals in Madrid
Hart apologised on ITV1 for his team’s mistakes but Mancini told the England goalkeeper to concentrate on his game instead of trying to analyse what had happened. The furious City boss said: ‘Joe Hart should stay in goal and make saves. If anyone should criticise the team it should be me, not Joe Hart.
‘I am the judge, not Joe Hart. It’s difficult to take, not because we lost.
‘You can lose against a team like Real but not like this. We need to improve the situation because we go too deep sometimes and leave the opponents to play easy on the edge of the box.
Winner: Ronaldo scores Real Madrid's third goal before celebrating with this team-mates
‘I don’t want us to defend like this. At 2-1, we only had to play like we did in the second half.
‘We should have paid more attention. We have international players, we can improve and we should be disappointed that we have lost this point.’
City spent much of the first hour on the back foot but went ahead through Edin Dzeko. Real soon equalised through left back Marcelo only for an Aleksandar Kolarov goal, courtesy of Xabi Alonso’s deflection, to seemingly set City up for a valuable three points.
Hart had a good night on the whole but might have saved Benzema’s leveller, while City skipper Vincent Kompany inexplicably ducked out of the way of Ronaldo’s winner.
Contrasting fortunes: Roberto Mancini is left shell shocked as Jose Mourinho celebrates his side's win
Hart said: ‘You can’t go 2-1 up with five minutes to go and lose the game. Who else can we blame We can only blame ourselves. It’s hard to come off the field after losing 3-2 and be positive. I’m really sorry. We’re not a team that should come here and pat ourselves on the back for doing well. We’re a team that gets results.’
Asked about Kompany’s error, Mancini (left) seemed nonplussed. He said: ‘Usually he doesn’t do this, but the mistake is that he did.’
Real coach Jose Mourinho slid on his knees at the winning goal and later said: ‘Every point is important and that point was what City had in mind. They were very defensive in the first half, but a draw in the Bernabeu would have been a good result.’