London – Roberto Mancini has revealed he is ready to drop several of his Manchester City flops after accusing the champions of lacking the stomach for a fight.
Mancini was livid with City's lacklustre performance in Saturday's surprise 3-1 defeat at Southampton and he is prepared to make a host of changes for the club's FA Cup fifth round tie against Leeds at Eastlands this weekend.
The Italian is determined to lay down the law to his squad, even if it means axing some of the club's more high-profile stars.
“I am sure we will change that, because I will change players next week,” Mancini told the Manchester Evening News on Monday.
“I only want players who are ready for the fight in the last 12
“I am very angry with a lot of my players, and very disappointed at the performance, because it is impossible to play the way we did.
“We didn't fight for every ball. We can't always win by playing well -that is normal.
“Sometimes we play well and win, but you also need to be able to win because you fight for every ball, and fight against an opponent who also wants to win the game.
With City now 12 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United, it appears their hopes of retaining the title are all but over, leaving the FA Cup as the only trophy they have left to win this season.
Mancini knows Championship club Leeds - who beat Spurs in the previous round - will be desperate to add to his team's woes and he challenged his players to use the cup tie to restore morale.
Argentine striker Carlos Tevez is expected to return this week after a family problem, and captain Vincent Kompany should also be available after injury, while Matija Nastasic and Kolo Toure are back after late returns from international duty.
“Every team that plays against us treats it like a Champions League final, but we should know this, it is normal,” Mancini said.
“We now have 12 games left, need to do well in the Premier League, and we have the FA Cup - there are games left and we can do better. We need to finish the season the way we did last year.” – Sapa-AFP