Pressure gets to Mancini as Man City lose 4-2 to Aston Villa
Two managers in angry exchange as yet another defeat sends Man City out of the League Cup
Manchester City's stuttering start to the season continued last night as the Sky Blues crashed out of the League Cup. Aston Villa came from behind twice to win 4-2 in extra-time and up the ante on Roberto Mancini.
City have won just two of their seven competitive matches this season and the defending Premier League champions last tasted victory on 1 September when they beat Queen's Park Rangers.
That the pressure is getting to Mancini is clear. There was an angry exchange with Villa manager Paul Lambert during the encounter at the Etihad Stadium, sparked by a clash between City's Gareth Barry and Villa defender Joe Bennett.
Lambert accused Mancini of trying to get his player booked, an accusation the City boss later took exception to. "I only asked the fourth official if it was a yellow card, as I thought the referee had left his yellow cards in the dressing room," replied Mancini at the post-match press conference.
Asked specifically about Lambert's behaviour, Mancini replied: "I'm tired of this, very tired. I am tired with their behaviour and it's better that some managers shut up because I didn't speak with this manager. There are some managers that are like this and I don't like this behaviour."
Mancini offered an explanation for Lambert's reaction, telling a startled press conference: "Maybe it's because I'm Italian."
Lambert refused to be drawn into a war of words, content to leave Manchester with a win thanks to extra-time goals from Charles N'Zogbia and Gabriel Agbonlahor put his side into the fourth round.
Mario Balotelli had opened the scoring for City in the first half but an own-goal from Barry brought Villa back into the game on the hour mark. Aleksandar Kolarov's free-kick restored the hosts' lead but Agbonlahor equalised a few minutes later to force the match into extra-time.
"We don't play well and this is my fault because I am the manager," said Mancini as talk of a mini crisis at the Etihad begins to grow. "Now I shall find the solution quickly as we have important games [ahead]."
There was no such hiccup for Chelsea who thrashed Wolves 6-0 and offered captain John Terry some light relief after six hours at Wembley in front of an FA disciplinary commission. There were doubts beforehand whether Terry would take his place in the team as he fights charges of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, but he showed up and clearly enjoyed being back among friends.
"There's Only One England captain" sang the Chelsea faithful as the Blues romped to an easy win with three goals in the first 16 minutes. New boy Victor Moses scored on his full debut and there was even a goal for Fernando Torres as Wolves were put to the sword.
In other notable Cup results, Championship side Leeds inflicted a 2-1 defeat on Everton, currently third in the Premier League, while Swansea needed a goal on 90 minutes from Garry Monk to see off plucky Crawley Town 3-2.