Mancini brands talk of his departure as ‘rubbish’
Manchester City manager disappointed at trophy-less season
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini leaves the pitch at Wembley Stadium following the FA Cup Final defeat to Wigan Athletic. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA
Roberto Mancini branded speculation about his imminent departure from Manchester City as “rubbish” after seeing his side shocked by Wigan in today’s FA Cup final.
Ben Watson headed a last-gasp winner to earn the Latics a 1-0 win at Wembley to leave City without a trophy this season.
This morning’s headlines were dominated by reports linking Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini with his job, but Mancini told ITV: “This speculation is rubbish. If I said it’s rubbish, it’s rubbish...speculation and rubbish.”
Asked how damaging a loss it was, Mancini said on ESPN: “It was a difficult season because our target was to win the Premier League, and we didn’t win it. But this can happen, it’s impossible to win always.
“And after we had this chance to win another cup...this moment is difficult.”
Asked for the reasons behind today’s defeat, Mancini added: “I think we didn’t play very well, I don’t know why.
“We had two or three incredible chances, but we didn’t play like we do usually.
“I’m very sorry for the fans because 40,000 were here. I’m very sorry for our supporters.”
A proud Wigan boss Roberto Martinez paid a glowing tribute to his side.
He said: “It’s an incredible moment. At half-time we were all really down as we thought we had played really well in the first half.
“There was a real feeling of maybe we had wasted our opportunity, but this group of players keep on fighting.
“When you are a football club you dream of playing at Wembley, and today we saw the underdogs play with incredible bravery, incredible belief and they defied the odds again. That’s the FA Cup.”
The Latics still face a battle to stay in the Premier League in the last two games of the season, and Martinez said today’s win would give them a huge boost in their survival fight.
“We are going to get an incredible fight, incredible desire, to get the six points we’ve got left (in the games against Arsenal and Aston Villa),” the Spaniard said.
“But today is about today, today is about the FA Cup, today is about the victory and the trophy that we’ve won for Wigan Athletic. What an incredible story.”
Martinez has been touted as a potential successor to David Moyes at Everton and when the subject of his future with Wigan came up he said: “Wigan Athletic is an incredible story. Paul (Jewell) started everything, getting the team promoted to the Premier League. Now it’s eight seasons and now we need to make sure the ninth season is round the corner, because we need to use European football in our favour, I mean it doesn’t matter who the manager is, there’s a bigger picture than that.”
Callum McManaman was man of the match for a super display as he ran Gael Clichy ragged down the right-hand side.
Asked about the forward, Martinez said: “Actions speak louder than words. His display was outstanding. I think he’s a real diamond of English football.”
It was also an emotional afternoon for Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, who has overseen their rise to the top flight and broke his leg as a player playing for Blackburn in the 1960 FA Cup final.
“What an incredible story,” Martinez said. “The chairman broke his leg in 1960 and today, finally, it’s finished business for him.”
Whelan said he had dreamt his side’s success.
“I thought we would get Man City in the final and win 1-0,” he said.
“The dream has come true. I’m repaid for 1960 when I broke my leg and we lost the match.”
Match-winner Watson himself, who come on in the 81st minute after replacing Jordi Gomez, only returned to action last month after nearly five months out with a broken leg.
He said: “It’s been a long six months for myself and it’s been a dream. Coming on in an FA Cup final and scoring the winner.”
“We’ve got two massive games now to stay in the league and if we perform like that we’ll be all right. We crack on again tomorrow.”
Wigan midfielder James McCarthy, meanwhile, hailed the victory as a dream come true for him and described Martinez as a “tactical genius”.
The Republic of Ireland international, who moved south from Hamilton in 2009, told ESPN: “It’s an unbelievable achievement. I’m speechless to be honest. It’s a dream come true, it’s what you dream of as a kid.
“I think the gaffer is a tactical genius. It’s down to his tactics what we’ve done.”
City defender Vincent Kompany was gracious in defeat.
“There is no need to look for excuses,” the Belgian said. “Wigan deserved to win it, congratulations to them.
“We have to come back, we’ll have plenty of occasions to win it again.”