Roberto Mancini 'just ignored players from day one at Man City'

Mario Balotelli (left) and Roberto Mancini

Roberto Mancini's relationship with his players was to blame for his exit as Manchester City manager, according to former defender Danny Mills.

Mancini, 48, was sacked on Monday after three-and-a-half years in charge.

City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said the club needed to "develop a holistic approach to all aspects of football at the club".

"There wasn't the togetherness between player and manager," Mills told BBC Radio 5 live.

"Basically, Mancini just ignored players from day one. He was the manager, he made decisions, he made no attempt to have any sort of relationship with the players, didn't take them under his wing. It was very much, 'I'm the manager, I'll do my thing, I'll pick the team and then I'll disappear'.

"You speak to the players and you know there's a lot of discontent in that dressing room. They'll say it wasn't a particularly happy camp at times, there were a lot of different factions in that dressing room."

Mancini, who signed a new five-year deal last summer having won the Premier League title, has been involved in a number of high-profile altercations with his players since he replaced Mark Hughes in December 2009.

The Italian's most notable quarrel was in January when he was involved in a training-ground bust-up with Italy striker Mario Balotelli.Photos showed the pair having to be separated by staff and team-mates at Carrington training ground.

Mancini also clashed with Carlos Tevez. In September 2011, Mancini said the Argentine was "finished" at the club after accusing him of refusing to play as a substitute in the Champions League game against Bayern Munich.

After a disciplinary hearing, fines, a suspension, an unauthorised return to Argentina and an apology, Tevez returned to the City fold five months later.

There were further instances of unrest between manager and players.

Midfielder Samir Nasri criticised Mancini after the manager claimed he wanted to "punch" the Frenchman for his inconsistent displays earlier this year, while goalkeeper Joe Hart was rebuked for criticising the side following a 3-2 Champions League loss at Real Madrid in September.

Mills added: "You need to understand the players, you need to know what makes them tick. You have never heard the players come out and back their manager and that sticks in the mind.

"You cannot come out and criticise your players publicly. Arsene Wenger doesn't do it at Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson doesn't do it at Manchester United. We know he kicks boots, or gives them the hairdryer, he might even have had the odd punch-up, but in public he protects his players.

"Why didn't those top players, such as Robin van Persie, who City were linked with, go there in the summer?

"They were in the Champions League, they were the champions of England, they pay more money than anybody else. Why would you not go there unless it wasn't a happy place to be?"

That view was endorsed by BBC Radio 5 live's senior football reporter Ian Dennis.

"What has gone against him is his man-management style," said Dennis.

"It is other issues other than performance which have undermined him. When you look at the flashpoints that Mancini has had this season, that gives you an indication of the difference in holistic approach that City are looking for."

Former City player Kit Symons told BBC Radio 5 live that he believed an element of stability would benefit the club.

"I don't want City to go down that road and become like that, where managers come and go at the drop of a hat," he said. "Long-term success is what clubs and fans want, rather than this short-term fix of changing the manager as soon as they don't win a trophy for a season."

Kevin Parker of the Manchester City supporters club expressed his disappointment at Mancini's departure.

"City fans are particularly upset, not just with the manner in which this has been dealt with, but also the day that he has been sacked," he said.

"The 13th of May should be a day that is remembered for lots of fantastic reasons, including winning the Premier League for the first time in 44 years, and now it has been associated with the sacking of our second most successful manager ever."

Assistant Brian Kidd will take charge for the final two games of the season - against Reading on Tuesday and Norwich on Sunday - as well as the summer tour to the United States.

Malaga's Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini has been strongly tipped to replace Mancini.

After Saturday's shock FA Cup final defeat by Wigan, Mancini criticised City for failing to publicly deny media reports identifying former Real Madrid coach Pellegrini as his likely replacement.