Roberto Mancini must wait to see what his options are for Sunday after counting the cost of this week’s international break.
With members of the Blues squad having been scattered far and wide with their national sides, the Manager is allowing as much time as possible for players to recover before the trip to Fulham.
That the break was for a round of friendly games does help the Manager’s mood, and he told this morning’s press conference at Carrington:
“This is a difficult situation and we have a lot who go away to play for their national teams every time (there is a break). I think FIFA or UEFA must change the rules, because sometimes the players need a long time to recover. It’s not a problem if they play, say for England or Italy, but if they do not play it would be better if they stay with us in a week without Europa League football.
“It is not great to have these friendlies because if the players get injured, they may not have time to recover. They are playing every three days and it is difficult for them.”
After confirming that Joe Hart’s back problem is not expected to keep him out of the game at Craven Cottage, Mancini added:
We must wait until Saturday as the players that have come back from international duty are tired and a few have reported some problems. At the moment Lescott has a problem with his foot, and Richards has a rib injury, but that is all.
Despite his absence for Sunday through suspension, Mario Balotelli was a hot topic due to comments made during the week while on international duty. After backing the young striker to shake off the racist chanting he was subjected to by a section of his own fans, Mancini urged the 20-year-old to channel his aggression once he is back on City duty.
“He was the same in Italy, and he must change his mentality. He must think to play, because he could score in every game if he concentrates on what he is doing. He must not keep talking back to the referee and think only about his job, then he can make a difference on the pitch.”