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Petrov so happy to be back

Petrov scores

Petrov scores

Martin Petrov ended a two-month absence from the City side with his customary goal then claimed that his treatment at the hands of former manager Mark Hughes was "unfair".

Roberto Mancini, who succeeded Hughes last weekend, called up Petrov from his exile and the eager Bulgaria winger responded with the opening goal in the 2-0 home victory over Stoke.

Petrov's three previous starts this season were all rewarded with a goal but the unhappy fans' favourite was unable to keep a regular place in Hughes' line-up and said: "Every time I score, I go to the bench!   

"Now is not the time to speak about my situation. In the past six months too many things have happened with me. Maybe in the future I will speak 100 per cent. But what he was doing with me I think was unfair.


Every manager has different ideas about what he likes to do in training and tactics - in the last three games we conceded nine goals. Now we try to do better, and we did that today


"We know we can play better but we have trained only four days with the new manager. I think we will get better. We were all a little bit nervous because everybody wanted to show him what they can do.

"I know that I can play better than today. I've not played for two months, and in the second half I was tired. But when I play, I always try to give my best.

"Everyone is surprised at the quick change of manager but we are football players who earn our money and must still concentrate because we have games to play. We must try to win every game, that is our job."

Petrov, who was being linked with a move last summer, admitted that his season has been hugely frustrating despite Premier League goals against West Ham, Wigan and Fulham inside a month.

He said: "I have been away from Bulgaria for ten years, and it's the first time for a long time I've not been playing. But I'm a professional and I grow stronger. If you're not playing, you grow stronger for the next time that you do.   

"That is a fantastic win for us - we got three very important points and impressed the manager. Now it's Wolves away, and we've had problems with our concentration away, but we can win."

Match Report

City 2-0 Stoke City

City of Manchester Stadium

Roberto Mancini will hope that they are all this simple. What could have been a Boxing Day banana skin against a difficult Stoke side turned out to be a piece of cake for the new manager.

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Roberto Mancini salutes loyalty

Roberto Mancini with shirt

Roberto Mancini has dismissed any notion of disquiet in the Carrington camp - and goes so far as to salute the City players' loyalty to former manager Mark Hughes.

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