Mancini wants ruthless City strikers
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini eager to see improvement in-front of goal
Roberto Mancini has urged his table-topping Manchester City side to start showing a more ruthless streak in-front of goal.
The Citizens have kept three consecutive clean sheets over the festive period, but scored only four goals in those games and failed to break the deadlock in a stalemate at West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
With arch-rivals Manchester United keeping up the pace with big-spending City, goal difference could be crucial at the end of the season, and Mancini is eager for his side to penetrate defence-minded teams at every opportunity.
"Every team has its plan, but in the first half we had three or four chances to score and maybe we were too slow in ball possession," said the Italian, reflecting on the Baggies style-of-play.
"We should maybe be quicker. In the second half we also had a chance but in the end they had players behind the ball. We knew when we played this game it would be difficult. It was difficult on Monday and it will be difficult in the next game because we play against teams who get players behind the ball.
"If you don’t score when you have the chance - like at West Brom in the first half - afterwards it can be difficult. Sometimes you have to take risks.
"I was thinking on the morning of the match, that we always score. But I was saying two months ago that there will be a moment when we can’t score and we don’t know why. We have good strikers and good players but sometimes we can’t score."
The imperious defensive record is a major positive for the Citizens though, with Mancini's previous managerial successes in Italy built on an ideology of not conceding goals.
That philosophy remains intact at the Etihad Stadium, and whilst flare players like David Silva and Mario Balotelli can turn the game in attack, clean sheets are priceless in a race for the title.
"When you can’t score and concede one or two counter-attacks you can lose concentration and lose the game," added Mancini.
"The clean sheet is positive, but if we want to win the title we need to score.
"We can’t score every game but we are on top, we are happy and we know that now we have another 20 games. They will be very difficult games."