Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini refused to criticise his players as they followed Sunday’s hard-fought Wembley win against Chelsea with a narrow defeat of Wigan Athletic.
Carlos Tevez’s late goal proved the difference in a tense Greater Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium, as City bagged their eighth win in nine matches.
And Mancini was delighted his much-changed side was able to reward the home supporters with another three points.
“I was not frustrated. I knew that it was a difficult game because we played three days ago and probably we were so tired,” he told BBC Radio Manchester.
“First-half we didn’t play very well, second half we started to show and the last 20 minutes we finished well.
“It was difficult because we played only three days ago. There wasn’t time to recover very well.
“We played with five new players in from the last game for this reason and in the end it’s important to win.
“I am happy for the fans. We are happy when we win at home and win for our supporters.”
The two sides will meet again in the FA Cup final next month after their respective semi-final wins at the weekend.
But Mancini believes this result will have no bearing on the Wembley showpiece when the two sides clash in the capital.
“Tonight was very different to what the FA Cup final will be like but I think Wigan played very good football,” he added.
“I am sure that the final will be different. It will be an important moment for them and for us.”
Mancini’s five changes saw Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, James Milner and Matija Nastasic rested and reserve keeper Costel Pantilimon drop back to the bench.
Micah Richards made his first start since suffering a serious knee injury against Swansea City in October, but Mancini admitted the rampaging full-back still has much work ahead.
“He’s not in good form,” the Italian said. “Micah needs to work a lot, a lot, a lot because he played for 70 minutes but his form is too far off.”
City’s victory ensured they remain seven points clear of third-placed Chelsea, while they closed the gap on Manchester United to 13 points.
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