BARRY BACKS TIN­KER MAN!

Tac­tics boost for Roberto’s Plan B

Midweek Sport - - THURSDAY NOVEMBER 1 - By GRA­HAM CHASE

GARETH BARRY in­sists the crit­ics are wrong to ques­tion Roberto Mancini’s tac­tics de­spite Man City’s patchy open­ing to the cam­paign.

The Ital­ian man­ager has come un­der fire this sea­son due to City’s slack start, which has seen their de­fence look ragged and left their Cham­pi­ons League hopes in tat­ters af­ter just three group games.

Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott both ad­mit­ted they were strug­gling to get to grips with Mancini’s three-man back­line af­ter the 3-1 de­feat to Ajax.

But City re­sponded to the Am­s­ter­dam in­quest with a clean sheet in the 1-0 vic­tory over Swansea at the week­end.

And Eng­land mid­fielder Barry, 31, says the play­ers have to get to grips with dif­fer­ent sys­tems and points out that Mancini’s tin­ker­ing has al­ready paid off this term.

Barry said: “I missed the whole pre-sea­son with my op­er­a­tion. The lads said they worked on three at the back, as the man­ager wanted it as a Plan B.

“The play­ers didn’t seem to be overly-con­fi­dent play­ing it. If the man­ager wants to go with it you have to do your best and re­spect it.

“When re­sults don’t go right these things get picked up on. At the other end he made an at­tack­ing de­ci­sion at West Brom and Edin Dzeko came on and scored two goals.

Slog

“You ex­pect these things to come out when things go badly but we have to stick to­gether. We started that on Satur­day with a clean sheet and three points.”

Barry ad­mits that the start of the sea­son has been a slog for the Premier League cham­pi­ons.

Mancini’s side are un­beaten in the league and sit third af­ter four straight wins.

Barry be­lieves the open­ing weeks of the cam­paign have been far harder than the freeflow­ing start to last sea­son.

But he thinks City now have to show the men­tal­ity that got them a first ti­tle in 44 years in or­der to keep the pace.

Barry added: “The start of the sea­son is dif­fer­ent to what we ex­pe­ri­enced last year, peo­ple want to beat you that lit­tle bit more and this is what we’re find­ing out.”

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