Roberto Mancini insisted he was to blame for Manchester City’s defeat at Everton, claiming that he had both failed to prepare his players properly and also under-estimated David Moyes’s side.
The Italian’s comments were probably designed to shield his players, who are showing signs that they are feeling the pressure of their title pursuit, but they were still a remarkable admission for a Premier League manager to make.
“We had a problem because I made mistakes,” said Mancini. “It was a bad night for me. We didn’t deserve to lose, but I made a mistake as we did not prepare properly for this game.
“It is important I learn from this because I cannot make the same mistakes in the next game. I thought maybe it was going to be easier than it was, and it is never easy this game.
“It is impossible to always do well, but we did not prepare well in training in the last three or four days.
“We played well against Tottenham and we’ve won the last three games in the Premier League, Everton were without some important players, we made a mistake. I did not prepare us for the pressure that we would be put under tonight.
“We are still top of the table and we have 15 games [left]. It is important now that we win the game at home next weekend.”
With the transfer window now shut, Everton’s win has thrown the title race wide open and it was ironically, and almost inevitably, secured by former Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson’s first goal for the Merseyside club.
Gibson was an early January mover after finding his first team opportunities limited at United, but the midfielder’s popularity at Old Trafford has never been higher after his second-half strike condemned City to only their third league defeat of the season.
Given a standing ovation when he left the Goodison Park pitch, the midfielder’s name also rang out at his former home. A rare feat for anyone, let alone a player who had his fair share of critics towards the end of his time at United.