Barry defends Mancini's tactical tinkering amid criticism

The midfielder has supported his Italian manager's desire to change Manchester City's shape and formation, pointing out his previously successful substitutions

Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry has backed manager Roberto Mancini’s decision to tinker with the team’s tactics despite recent failures.

The Italian has been widely criticised for his unsuccessful attempts at reverting from last season’s tried-and-tested back four to using three centre-backs and two wing-backs.

Micah Richards claimed his team-mates had not practiced the system in the aftermath of their costly 3-1 defeat to Ajax in the Champions League, but Barry - who missed City’s pre-season preparations through injury - has supported his manager’s desire for greater versatility.

7/1 Manchester City are 7/1 with William Hill to win the Premier League and FA Cup

"I missed the whole pre-season with my operation," Barry told the Manchester Evening News.

"The lads said they worked on three at the back, as the manager wanted it as a Plan B.

“The players didn't seem to be overly-confident playing it.

“If the manager wants to go with it you have to do your best and respect it.”

Barry highlighted the tactical nous that saw Edin Dzeko leave the bench to net City’s last-gasp winner against West Brom on October 20, saying that Mancini’s positive actions have not been analysed as much as the negative.

"At the other end of the scale he made an attacking decision at West Brom and Edin Dzeko  came on and scored two goals,” Barry continued. “Those things don't get spoken about.”

“You expect these things to come out when things go badly but we just have to stick together and go forward. We started that on Saturday with a clean sheet and three points."