• Premier League

Mancini points finger at Balotelli for Man City draw

ESPN staff
November 3, 2012 « Becker questions whether Federer is greatest ever | Chartbeat test »
ESPN Extra Time: Post-match questions

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini appeared to lay the blame for Saturday's 0-0 draw with West Ham at the misfiring feet of Mario Balotelli.

City failed to score in a Premier League game for the first time in seven months after they wasted a host of chances at Upton Park. Balotelli was chief culprit, particularly with one second-half miss when he completely missed the ball when six yards from goal.

The champions started with Balotelli, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko in attack, but they failed to find the net and were lucky not to concede - given Kevin Nolan's incorrectly disallowed fourth-minute strike. Mancini, though, was frustrated with Balotelli, who has scored twice this season.

"This is football," Mancini said. "I think that a player like Balotelli, when he has a chance like to today, he should score.

"Because when you are a top player, if you have a chance, you should score this - but I don't think he didn't want to score."

Asked if West Ham deserved to take a point from Saturday's evening fixture, Mancini felt not. City are now two points behind leaders Manchester United, and Mancini's frustration was clear.

"No, no. Not a fair result," he said. "When you have 65 per cent ball possession, 22 shots - maybe less shots on goal - you deserve to win and we missed four incredible chances to score.

"But I am happy with the performance, because we played well, I'm unhappy with the chances that we're missing."

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce disagreed with Mancini, pointing to Nolan's chalked off strike as evidence that his team gave as good as they got.

"I'm really pleased,'' Allardyce said. "I think that our performance today from start to finish was very, very good indeed. The way we started the game was bright, trying to see if we could test Man City early on.

"Of course, we did that with a fantastically-taken goal by Kevin Nolan that I think was a little unfortunate to be given offside. But the first half, we tried the best we possibly could to put more and more pressure on Man City.

"Of course we would have to do some severe defending somewhere along the line and that wasn't so much in the first half but certainly was in the second.

"In fairness to the lads, they kept on going and going. We had the odd breakout in the second half which caused them the odd problem or two and certainly Andy Carroll's overhead kick would've been a fabulous goal.

"It was goal bound. I don't know whether Harty (Joe Hart) would've saved it but it hit somebody else (Gael Clichy) in the back. But we have to be satisfied that we've taken a point off the champions and it really is a good day for us.''

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