Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has delivered a hard-hitting critique of some of his key players, including Samir Nasri and Joe Hart, and also took aim at Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Mancini discussed his summer spending plans, and the reasons behind Manchester City's poor form this season.
Samir Nasri, Arsene Wenger and Joe Hart all came into the Italian's sights, and he didn't hold back, giving his frank opinions on all three.
Mancini initially focused on the player he signed from the Arsenal boss, Nasri. And he blasted the French midfielder for only showing him 50% during the season and claiming he isn't the player he thought he'd signed.
"I think Samir has fantastic qualities," Mancini told The Guardian. "With his quality, he should always play well. Every game he could be the difference. A player of this quality could be one of the best players in Europe. But it's not happening.
"Sometimes a player thinks it's enough what they did the year before and doesn't understand that every day they should improve.
"If you are a top player you know you can improve until the last day of your career but sometimes you get players who think it is not important to work and this is their worst mistake.
"Samir can do better than this year. He is a top player but he has not been playing at his level."
Mancini then added: 'You win the title, then you think it's enough to play 50 per cent and you don't arrive the next year.
"It's always more difficult to retain the league than win it. We arrived at the top. The problem is to stay there a long time. You do that only if your mentality is strong."
Mancini then continued, taking aim at his number one Joe Hart, saying if he doesn't improve, he will be dropped. Hart has made a series of high-profile errors this season, including his most recent clanger against Southampton. But the England number one is still Mancini's first-choice - although that could change if things don't improve.
"Listen, I believed in Joe when nobody else did. I put him in the goal when everybody thought it was impossible that he could play ahead of Shay Given, who at that time was one of the best goalkeepers in Europe. I love Joe. If not, I wouldn't have put him in the team two years ago.
"But it's simple. If Joe continues to make mistakes, he goes on the bench. He is the best goalkeeper in England but in the situation Manchester City are in, if you want to stay at the top, you need to work hard and think only about football. He needs to think only of his job and that is being a goalkeeper."
Mancini's capacity to criticise his own players stands in stark contrast to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman fiercely defends his own players, but Mancini insists he's not the same kind of manager as the Gunners man.
"But I'm not Arsène Wenger. We're different. I want to win. I think every player should be strong enough to take his responsibility and, like this, you can improve. You don't improve if you have a manager saying 'aah, don't worry, you made a mistake but it doesn't matter.'"
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