Lescott backs City to silence critics
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Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott has revealed the scale of the siege mentality at the club by insisting everyone wants Roberto Mancini's side to fail this season.

A 3-1 UEFA Europa League loss to Lech Poznan on Thursday made it three successive defeats for the world's richest club and also sparked fears for manager Mancini's future. City desperately need to win against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on Sunday if they are to arrest that worrying slide and restore confidence and credibility.

Lescott said: "It's not a crisis. We are disappointed to have lost the game, and three on the bounce is never good at this stage of the season. But there is still a long way to go in the league and we are still in pole position to qualify in the Europa League. Things aren't too bad.

"We all back the manager, that's our job. He's in control of all of us and what he says goes. We aren't getting the results but we are controlling games and we just need to punish teams at the right time."

We aren't getting the results but we are controlling games and we just need to punish teams at the right time.
Joleon Lescott, Manchester City defender

Talk of bust-ups between players and the manager have rocked City's Carrington training base in recent weeks but Lescott denied there were any behind-the-scenes problems.

"Not in my eyes. Every club has got their problems and we're no different to any other, but the boys are bouncing," he added. "We are obviously not as happy as we would like after the previous three games but we are confident going into most games, if not all the games, that we are going to win.

"We know that everyone wants us to fail. At this moment in time it's not a great situation to be in but we are confident going into Sunday's game that we can get a result."

Mancini has vowed not to quit, but defeats against West Brom and then rivals Manchester United on Wednesday could leave him in serious danger. West Brom are just two points behind City despite the multi-million pound transfer fees spent by the club's Abu Dhabi-based owners.

Pressure on Mancini
And Roberto Di Matteo, the West Brom manager, has not helped his opposite number by heaping the pressure on ahead of the contest, insisting that City must win if Mancini is to remain secure in his job.

"I think City have to win, and we would like to win. I think that's the situation," Di Matteo said. "They are the favourites, and we would just like to continue to play the way we've been playing and be competitive. That's our ambition."

Di Matteo's men lost against Blackpool in a thrilling encounter at Bloomfield Road on Monday as West Brom played an hour with just nine men, but Di Matteo believes his side is still full of self-belief.

"I think we've been playing with confidence for a while now, but we're going to have a few players out," he added. "We'll have to shuffle the team around a little bit, but I've been pleased with the way we've approached every game since the opening match."

Despite City's recent poor run of results, Di Matteo says they should not be ruled out of the title race.

"Every team is going to lose a game or two during a long season," he said. "But you look at their squad and the players they have in the squad, it's quite impressive in my opinion."

Mancini may be able to call up the services of Carlos Tevez after his thigh injury showed signs of improving, while Aleksandr Kolorov is also fit again after a foot problem.