Roberto Mancini berated his players for the slow start they made in the defeat at Hull but still fancies them to mount a strong top four challenge.
The Italian was a dismayed spectator as the relegation threatened home side built a two-goal lead and then withstood his side’s late charge.
“We started too slowly,” he exclaimed. “We have to learn to fight right from the start. If we had done that then we would not have lost. We had to show more commitment from the first whistle.
It is the same size pitch at home as it is away but we do not start with the same aggression this is something that we have to learn to do. We moved too slowly and we passed too slowly and we didn’t challenge quickly enough either
But Mancini was adamant that no irreparable harm has been done to the Blues chase to make the Champions League next season.
“It was a big game for us today because if we had won we would have been in a great position and would still have had our two games in hand over the sides above us and the chance to move into the top four,” he noted.
“Now we have lost ground but we are still in the race. Tuesday’s game against Bolton is vital to us and we must play for ninety minutes.
“I thought in the second half at Hull we played well and we had three or four chances to make it 2-2 but we didn’t. As bad as we were in the first half we have to give Hull some credit they played very well. They tackled hard and began with good tempo that we didn’t match but should have done. My compliments go to them.”
Mancini was happy that Wayne Bridge was able to return after a long injury absence and that his two new January signings both got some game time.
“I think Wayne did well even though he was bound to have some difficulty having been out for so long. He will get better I am sure,” declared the boss.
“The Hull fans chants at him were not nice and perhaps Wayne deserves some more respect but he is ok and he will be happy to have the match under his belt. He has not had many training sessions
“I thought Adam Johnson did well too and the minutes will have done him and Patrick Vieira good.”