at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Manchester, United Kingdom – Manchester City first-team coach David Platt has defended manager Roberto Mancini after the club's Champions League frustration continued in mid-week.
The English champions are currently third in the Premier League ahead of Sunday's clash with Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad.
But once again they have struggled in Europe and have just two points from their four matches, leaving them little chance of progressing to the knock-out stages for the first time.
Mancini showed his frustration when he confronted referee Peter Rasmussen after the 2-2 draw with Ajax and also remonstrated with a cameraman.
But Platt, who was standing in for Mancini at the club's pre-match media conference, insisted the Italian was justified in his actions.
“The referee allows a free-kick to go into the box, there is a header that goes down and the camera angles show it is a clear penalty. Why wouldn't the manager of a football club be frustrated? Why wouldn't we all be frustrated?” Platt said.
“Players are frustrated, supporters are frustrated, staff are frustrated. Robbie (Mancini) has gone on to the pitch and spoken to the referee. As he comes back, he turns around and has a camera in front of his face for 30 yards.
“He turns around and speaks in English and says, in English, that basically it is enough now. People then want to start talking about what has happened and almost exaggerating the incident.”
As City's Champions League campaign has stuttered, Mancini has faced accusations that his players are unhappy with his tactics.
The Italian has always insisted there are no problems within his squad and Platt maintains there is no point in City complaining about the way they are perceived.
He is also adamant that Mancini would be wrong to attempt to dim his passion on the sidelines, expressing astonishment at how the situation had been exaggerated.
“I don't think he is the first manager to go on to the pitch. If you go on to Wikipedia you'll see has done it before, not just as a manager but as a player. He wears his heart on his sleeve.
“We can sit here and drag it on for another three days but that's what seems to be the thing that is happening to us at this moment in time – half-voices, half-truths.
“Stories that are probably big enough to go one day are actually lasting a lot longer than that and for what reason, I don't know.
“The manager for three or four press conferences has not spoken about the next game but about what people want to write about.”
On the pitch, City have positive injury news ahead of Sunday's match, with David Silva, Joleon Lescott and Maicon all training again after injury problems.
Spain winger Silva has been out with a hamstring problem, Lescott has missed the past two games with a back injury and Brazil defender Maicon, who has only played twice since joining from Inter Milan in the close season, has had an ankle injury.
Defender Micah Richards is out for at least another three weeks with a knee injury and Jack Rodwell and James Milner (both hamstring) are still out.
“They are back on the training pitch,” said Platt. “We have got two days' training before that. Maicon was involved the other night, albeit with very little training under his belt.
“He has got more than that now. David – two or three days – Joleon, yes, I would have thought so because he's not been out too long. All of them are available for selection at this moment in time.” – Sapa-AFP