Updated: Tuesday, 2nd June 2020 @ 1:57pm

Tough love Roberto Mancini 'very sorry' for Michael Johnson: Manchester City boss rues midfielder's wasted talent

Tough love Roberto Mancini 'very sorry' for Michael Johnson: Manchester City boss rues midfielder's wasted talent

By Pippa Field

He may be known for his tough love approach but Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has expressed his sympathy for axed midfielder Michael Johnson.

Once seen as a possible England contender, Johnson, 24, was quietly shown the door by City before Christmas – three years after making his last appearance.

A succession of injuries and a battle against mental illness halted the promising midfielder’s career, but despite having never played under Mancini, the boss was saddened by his plight.

“Michael Johnson was a guy with a big talent and I am sad for this, sad for him,” he said.

“He could do everything with his talent. I am very sorry for him. I hope he can resolve all his problems.”

Johnson’s last game in a City shirt came in October 2009, two months before Mancini arrived and the club made their assault on the Premier League title.

The axed youngster’s contract was due to expire in the summer, but the Citizens opted instead to reach a settlement to cut it short before Christmas.

But despite freeing up room at the club, Mancini was hesitant about bringing in any new faces in the transfer window.

"In January it is difficult to take good players,” he said.

"Maybe we can find young players. If we have this chance in the next 10-12 days, probably we can do something but I am not sure."

The Blues boss, who has masterminded three consecutive victories this year, was speaking ahead of his side’s weekend clash with Fulham.

With the chance to apply pressure to rivals United who play the following day, Mancini urged his plays to step up to the mark.

"Their manager has big experience and he knows he can do well. It depends on us,” he said.

"Fulham are a good team, they have good players.

"When we played them away, we won the game in the last second.

"They won their last game away against West Brom, they are very dangerous on counter-attack.”

Picture courtesy of Twitter, with thanks

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