As Yaya heads off to the Africa Cup of Nations, Mancini warns: 'I need more players'
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has told the club they must try to back him in the January transfer window.
Mancini learned that key midfielder Yaya Toure will leave for the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday after the City boss’s plea to the Ivory Coast coach to delay his star man’s departure fell on deaf ears.
With strikers Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko nursing injuries ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Manchester United, Mancini feels he is short of numbers as he enters a crucial part of the season.
Heartbeat: But Yaya Toure will be at the Africa Cup of Nations
City, the Barclays Premier League leaders, are reluctant to spend on players this January as they try to keep their outgoings down ahead of UEFA’s new financial fair play rules coming into force.
Asked if he had been told he couldn’t buy this month, Mancini said: ‘Yeh, yeh. This is the problem. But if we don’t have the players it’s tough for us. We are not United. The difference is this. United and Chelsea have won trophies for many years. So they are quiet now. They understand that they can play without pressure.
‘For us it’s different. This could be the first championship for many years and we need to do everything we can to win it.’
Mancini maintains an interest in Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi and is also a huge admirer of AC Milan defender Thiago Silva. Privately, though, Mancini feels he will only be allowed to buy a player if City can off-load Carlos Tevez to one of the three Italian clubs — AC, Inter Milan and Juventus — who have so far shown interest.
Targets: Mancini is keen on Thiago Silva (bottom left) and De Rossi
‘I think it’s better that we sell first,’ he said. ‘Maybe then we can then take in other players. We could take in one player. I think in January — and I said this two months ago — we could have a big problem. We play four important games, big games without Yaya.
‘It depends what happens. If we have strikers injured then we need to buy another. At the moment I have one striker because Dzeko has a problem in his knee. I have one striker and two midfielders.
‘This month we are losing two players. If we lose another then we will need more players.’
City are understandably cautious about spending more money as they try to make inroads into last year’s losses of almost 200million. UEFA have told City and the rest of Europe’s big clubs that they need to see their losses moving in the right direction.
Smorgasbord of talent: City have spent big for the past two seasons – and Mancini wants further investment in his squad
Mancini is aware of the issue and there is none of the tension between him and the club’s board that existed between the Italian and former chief executive Garry Cook towards the end of last season.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the City manager does not want the opportunities that currently exist to slip away through lack of further investment.
The news that Toure and his brother Kolo must join up with the Ivory Coast before Sunday’s FA Cup collision is a blow, especially given that Gareth Barry will be suspended after being sent off in the win against Liverpool on Tuesday night.
With United reeling from two straight league defeats, City will begin the game as favourites.
Revenge mission: United will still be smarting from the 6-1 humbling in October
But Mancini warned: ‘United have one thing — they are very positive because their mentality is very strong. Having two defeats does not happen often for them and they soon start to play strong and win games.
‘After losing to us last time they won eight games and drew one. That is why they are always dangerous.
‘Remember that (Sir Alex) Ferguson has also won 25 trophies!
‘There are some moments when you have problems, with players injured. You have difficult moments after five months of the season when you are playing every three days.
‘This moment is very hard and there are some situations in football that are very strange.’