Mancini bemoans Balotelli miss

Post-match reaction to the 0-0 draw between West Ham United and Manchester City.

Last Updated: 03/11/12 at 22:42 Post Comment

Mario Balotelli: Missed a sitter at Upton Park

Mario Balotelli: Missed a sitter at Upton Park

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Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini insisted a "top player" should have scored the sitter squandered by Mario Balotelli that cost the champions dear in a 0-0 draw at West Ham.

A win would have seen City join rivals Manchester United at the top of the table but they missed three or four gilt-edged opportunities to take all three points against a spirited Hammers.

Mancini did not pull any punches after the game when asked about Balotelli's miss.

"This is football," he 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."Mancini admitted his side lack a cutting edge in attack, despite naming strike trio Balotelli, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez in the starting line-up for the first time.

The Upton Park blank was the first time in seven months that City failed to register a goal in a Barclays Premier League fixture but Mancini thought his side had done enough to win the game.

"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.

"When you're playing well and you have a chance, and you're missing an incredible chance, you can be frustrated ... but this is football. If you don't score, you can't win - we lost two points."

City now face Ajax on Tuesday night as they look to get their Champions League campaign on track after taking just a point from their opening three group matches.

Mancini's side will be missing Joleon Lescott and James Milner after the England pair picked up knocks over the past couple of days.

Lescott sat out training on Friday with a back problem and did not feature in the squad at West Ham, whilst Milner was named in the starting line-up but had to be replaced by Gareth Barry after pulling up in the warm-up with a hamstring complaint.West Ham manager Sam Allardyce disagreed with Mancini's take on the result and felt his team were good value for their point.

"I'm really pleased," he 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."

Despite being pressed back into their own penalty area for long periods in the second half Allardyce was happy with the commitment shown by his players to pick up a good result.

He said: "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's (Carroll) 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."

Allardyce also believes the display will give his players added confidence as they continue a tough run of fixtures leading up to Christmas.

Following their point against the champions today the Hammers face Newcastle, Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal before the turn of the year but Allardyce feels they can head into what could prove a testing period with renewed vigour.

He said: "It gives us a lot of hope and I think a lot of confidence because it's a bit of icing on top of the cake for us today.

"We were disappointed we didn't get anything at Wigan and we've now got this huge, difficult fixture list that's coming up, Man City being the first.

"Of course, we played Arsenal a few weeks ago. That was, again, a difficult game, We had a lot more chances in that game than we had in this and actually lost the game.

"But this one is icing on top of the cake for us because it's a really tough group of fixtures and we've started by playing the champions of the Premier League and getting a point, so that gives us great confidence going on into this group of fixtures."


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