Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes he has the backing of his squad ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester United.
City have been plagued by reports of off-pitch bust-ups throughout the season, and speculation about a lack of team spirit grew on Monday when both James Milner and Mario Balotelli showed their anger at being substituted during the defeat at Liverpool.
But Mancini insists there will be a united front when City, looking to win their first major trophy in 35 years, face the near neighbours at Wembley Stadium this weekend.
The Italian said: “I think the players are behind me. It would be stupid otherwise because, like me, the players have a good chance. It's important for these players because it could be their first trophy.
“Throughout my career I always played to win. For them it's the same. Don't change. It's not important who plays on Saturday. The team is important and all the players are behind me.
“I think every player knows we have arrived at an important moment for the club. We're playing an important game and we can be in the final if we play well, so every player will give 100%.
“We should be happy at this moment. It is a good moment. We have improved a lot as a team over the last year.
“We started the season wanting to win a trophy and qualify for the Champions League and those two objectives are still in front of us. For some of the players it could be their first trophy.
“If we get to the final and win the cup, as well as qualify for the Champions League, the mentality here will change. It would mean next season we would challenge 100% for the Premier League title.”