Rift between Mancini and Man City players widened after Southampton defeat

A rift has developed between Roberto Mancini and his Manchester City players, one that grew following the Premier League champions’ defeat to Southampton on Saturday, after which the manager did not speak with his squad but instead flew to Italy – sending one of his staff into the dressing room to retrieve his bag, the Independent has reported.

City were beaten 3-1 by the Saints, with manager Mauricio Pochettino picking up his first win since replacing Nigel Adkins in the dugout last month. The defeat, coupled with Manchester United’s victory over Everton 24 hours later, has left City 12 points adrift of United in the title race.

The Independent adds that Mancini’s dressing room no-show has added to the growing feeling that there is a lack of leadership within the football side of the club, with the sale of Nigel de Jong in the summer another factor. The Dutch midfielder was allowed to join Milan after a contract extension could not be agreed.

Mancini’s position as manager is said to be safe until the end of the season but will be scrutinised over the summer. The newspaper claims that even if City finish second and win a trophy – they remain in the FA Cup and play Leeds United at the weekend – that the Italian’s job will not necessarily be secure.

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