Roberto Mancini vows to speak his mind

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini on the touchline during the FA Cup fourth round match against Stoke on January 26, 2013
© PA Photos
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini challenges his players to be accountable when they fail to perform after seeing their title defence come off the rails.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has defended his public criticism of players and insisted that his team need to be accountable for their performances on the pitch.

City's title defence has faltered this season, with Mancini's men currently 15 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United.

The Italian, who has criticised Samir Nasri and Joe Hart for their displays in recent weeks, believes that his words should serve as a wake-up call to City players who have failed to meet last season's standards.

He told The Sun: "I'm not rude with my players. I say what I think sometimes because I think it could be good for my players to understand they could play better, they can do more.

"I say this because I don't lie. I say what I think and sometimes it's important that one player takes his responsibility. When you are a top player, you earn a lot of money and you should play at 100%.

"Maybe players are sensitive but I am sensitive sometimes. When they don't play well, I'm sensitive. When I was a player, I always took responsibility. When I didn't play well, I said, 'Sorry, I didn't play well and will do my best in the next game' and it should be like this."

City travel to Aston Villa tonight in search of three points to keep their faint tile hopes alive.

Manchester City's Carlos Tevez shows his frustration during the Manchester derby on December 9, 2012
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