Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini slammed midfielder Samir Nasri for failing to show proper commitment to the cause and put his body on the line.
The former Arsenal midfielder was on the end of the Citizens’ wall as Robin van Persie took a free-kick in the dying minutes but appeared to move his body away from the ball before sticking out a leg, which deflected the shot past Joe Hart into the far corner.
It put Manchester United 3-2 with only injury time to play and lead to the defeat that saw Sir Alex Ferguson’s side move six points ahead of their rivals from the Etihad Stadium at the top of the Premier League.
Mancini was not best pleased with Nasri’s efforts, claiming they had only “two and a half” players in the wall, and insisted all his players must show greater commitment if they wanted to retain the league title they won on the last day of last season.
“We dominated the second half but we can’t concede a goal like we did in the last second,” Mancini was quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News.
“If we need to put the face in the way, we should put the face. In the history of football, there are some teams who won a championship for this reason.
“I won a championship with Lazio for this reason. I’m really upset that we lost this game.”
City had shown great desire and courage to come back from being 2-0 down at half time to levelling at 2-2 with only a few minutes remaining and pushing for a winner.
It was a tough way to lose and United’s winner caused anger among the home fans, with Rio Ferdinand getting cut above his left eye after being hit by a missile thrown from the crowd while celebrating the goal.
Another City fan ran onto the pitch to confront the former England defender, but was stopped and restrained by goalkeeper Joe Hart.
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