Manchester City captain Kolo Toure has played down reports of a rift between the players and Roberto Mancini amid reports the manager has lost control of the dressing room.
Following City’s surprise 2-1 defeat against Wolves at Molineux on Saturday widespread press reports claimed that Mancini was struggling to assert his authority over his squad.
The defeat means City have made a worse start than under predecessor Mark Hughes last season and has prompted speculation that Mancini’s job is on the line.
“There is hardly a player in the dressing room who has any time for Mancini. The place is a complete mess,” a City source is quoted as saying in The Sun. “There are times when he tries to be a hard man but no one takes any notice.
“Team spirit is falling apart because there is no respect for the manager and some players are even guessing when he could go. They don’t know who they want in, they just want Mancini out.”
Another source told The Sun: “The players don’t like his confrontational style. They’re also baffled by him tactically – for example, they couldn’t understand why he brought on defender Pablo Zabaleta for Emmanuel Adebayor instead of striker Jo at Wolves on Saturday.”
However, Toure told BBC Radio Manchester that although both players and the manager had words following the defeat at Molineux, there are no rifts in the camp.
“No, not at all,” he said. “We are a team and in any team there are problems. But the important thing is to try to resolve them in the dressing room and the training camp.’
“We know we are a big team now. Everyone expects us to be at the top,” Toure added. “We need to take more responsibility. When you play for one of the richest clubs in the world, you just need to deliver on the pitch.”
Mancini faces a difficult meeting with players today.
“I need to speak with them,” he said after Saturday’s defeat. “We must understand why we lost this game. If we understand, and start to play like one week ago, maybe [we can challenge for the title]. The season is very long. But for me, Chelsea will win the league.”