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Mancini blasts City slackers

Roberto Mancini tore into his Manchester City players after the 3-1 defeat at Southampton which put a possibly fatal hole in their hopes of retaining the Premier League crown.

City produced one of their worst performances of the season at St Mary's with horrific mistakes from Joe Hart and Gareth Barry contributing to Mancini's troubles.

They are already nine points behind rivals Manchester United and that deficit could be extended to 12 if the Red Devils can beat Everton on Sunday.

Asked what the defeat meant for his team's title hopes, Mancini told ESPN: "We have 10%, maybe. I am disappointed with our performance. They deserved to win.

"It'll be very difficult to win the league. I use to be always be optimistic and want to be in this moment, but it's difficult.

"We didn't play well. We conceded a goal that I have never seen in my life. That's it. Now we can do nothing - only say congratulations to Southampton for their performance.

"I think (the players) understand that we played really bad. I think it's the worst game in the last two or three years, maybe.

"I've never seen our team concede goals like this. In the end we made two incredible mistakes. The performance was really poor. We played this game with only two or three players. Three versus 11 was really difficult.

"We're missing Vinny (Kompany) and missing (Matija) Nastasic, and we have some players who are not in form. They played really bad - without strength, without personality. I'm very disappointed in them.

"The players were away on international duty - that's not an excuse, but it is a reason. Some of our players came back on Friday and we played today. This made it difficult."