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Friday, November 16, 2012
Mancini wants Dzeko goals from the start

Richard Jolly

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has urged striker Edin Dzeko to replicate his scoring form from the bench when he starts matches for the club.

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Dzeko, 26, came off the bench to get the winner against Tottenham on Sunday - his seventh goal of the season and his sixth as a replacement.

But the Bosnia international has begun five games this season, netting only once, in the 3-1 win over QPR.

"I hope that Edin can score also when he starts a game because he has everything to do this," Mancini said. "Last year he did everything well and I hope he can play well also when he starts a game."

Despite often finding himself on the bench, Dzeko is City's top scorer, while Mario Balotelli is yet to open his account for the season in the league.

Carlos Tevez has four league goals and Sergio Aguero three but Mancini wants all his strikers to contribute more to the cause.

"In this moment we are missing five or six goals from the strikers," he said. "Edin was very important against Tottenham and West Bromwich."

Mancini also defended goalkeeper Joe Hart, who endured a difficult night for England when they lost 4-2 to Sweden in Stockholm on Wednesday.

And the manager argued that the nature of goalkeeping is that errors can be costly and it takes a strong character to wear the No. 1 shirt.

"This is normal," he said. "The keeper sometimes makes a mistake. If a keeper makes a mistake, you concede a goal and you lose. If the striker makes a mistake maybe it finishes 0-0. This is a keeper's life.

"If you decide to be a keeper, you should be very strong and very strange. If not you should decide to be a striker. All the keepers are strange."

Hart conceded four goals to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who Mancini knows very well from their time together at Inter Milan.

"Ibrahimovic can score against every keeper," Mancini said. "He is one of the top five strikers in the world. For me, the best goal was the second goal but the fourth goal was incredible."

City take on Aston Villa on Saturday with Mancini set to make a late decision as to whether Gael Clichy, who has had an injection to his back, will be fit to keep his place at left-back.

"He started training on Thursday and I think maybe he can play but we will see," Mancini said.

Jack Rodwell is definitely out, though the midfielder has returned to training after a month on the sidelines with a hamstring problem.

"He has done three or four training sessions but is not ready to play," Mancini added.

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