Manchester City’s weekend defeat to Southampton left manager Roberto Mancini questioning the size of his players’ “balls”.
The Italian was unimpressed by City’s display, which resulted in a 3-1 defeat to plucky Southampton, and left them trailing Manchester United in a turbulent, 12-point wake.
Mancini was livid, and blamed the result entirely on his underperforming players.
"If they play like this, they should stay at home," he seethed.
"When you are a top player you should take responsibility always,” he continued, deflecting the blame for City’s unravelling title defence.
"It is not always the fault of the manager.
“The players should take the responsibility if they have big balls. If not, they can't play in a top team."
City’s decision to sell misfit Mario Balotelli during the January transfer window looked ill-advised against the Saints.
Tetchy Argentine striker Carlos Tevez- who sat frustrated on the bench during City’s recent 2-2 draw with Liverpool- was absent due to “personal reasons.”
And the lack of a top quality assistant to Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero rendered City surprisingly limp against Mauricio Pochettino’s new charges.
With City backfiring in the Premier League and already out of Europe, Mancini’s refusal to shoulder the blame may not go down too well in the Etihad board room.
And unless he can muster a late and inspirational league charge to defend City’s title, Mancini will be looking over his shoulder for the rest of the season.
A certain Jose Mourinho could be looking for a new job in a few months’ time, and unless his players begin to play like he says they should, Mancini’s job could well be on the market.