Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admitted on Monday that he is angry with a lot of my players after their defeat to Southampton. Photo by: Stefan Wermuth

London – Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admitted on Monday that he is “angry with a lot of my players” after the champions dropped further behind Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table at the weekend.

City's 3-1 defeat at Southampton on Saturday left them 12 points behind United with 12 games to go.

The champions play Leeds in the FA Cup this weekend and Mancini said he will make changes to ensure the players with the right attitude get their chance.

“I only want players who are ready for the fight in the last 12 games,” the Italian told the Manchester Evening News.

“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.

“Every team that plays against us treats it like a Champions League final, but we should know this, it is normal.

“We now have 12 games left, (we) 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.”

City overturned an eight-point deficit with six games to go to last season as they pipped United for the title.

But Mancini was left angry at the way City allowed Southampton to beat them last weekend.

“On Saturday we played well in defence, but the problem was that we didn't give the defenders any help,” he said.

“They were left to play alone, and we conceded two goals the like of which I have never seen in my life.” – Sapa-dpa