Mancini: Manchester City not strong enough to man-mark

The club's zonal system during corners and free kicks has been criticised in recent weeks, but the Italian manager believes his players would crumble under a different set-up
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes that his team are not strong enough to man-mark during set-pieces.

Steven Caulker gave Tottenham the lead by heading home a free kick in the defending champions' 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Poor defending in dead-ball situations has plagued Mancini's side this season, but despite criticism for their zonal set-up the Italian coach thinks they would fare even worse if they changed systems.

9/1 Manchester City are 9/1 to beat Aston Villa 3-1 with bet365
"We are not strong enough to mark man-to-man, and every time we do there is a risk of conceding a penalty," Mancini told reporters.

"If we work, we can improve the system. We have let in goals because of it, but we can change that. We are working on it, but we need to work more."

Despite their fairly mixed performances so far in 2011-12, City remain unbeaten in the Premier League and trail league-leaders Manchester United by just two points.

Mancini admitted that he did not understand the concerns about his side's form so far this season, claiming that their poor results were often a consequence of bad luck or their own mistakes.

"We have made some bad mistakes in the Champions League, have had some bad luck, and have sometimes played a bad game," he said. "But we don't have a bad problem as some people like to say."