The Italian raised eyebrows amongst the travelling support at Goodison Park when he sent a stocky 46-year-old man from Southport onto the pitch to handcuff himself to Joe Hart’s goalpost, a move which at first alleviated a spell of heavy Everton pressure but subsequently backfired when the man was escorted from the pitch having been set free with bolt-cutters.
Speaking after the game to a reporter who unrelentingly thrust a microphone in his face while asking patronisingly phrased questions, Mancini confessed to having underestimated David Moyes’ resolute Toffees side and acknowledged that insufficient groundwork on his own part was to blame.
He said: “I, errr, am for to blame. It is, errr, no prepare very well for this moment.
“I, errr, tell my players before game, if to win game, we need stocky 46-year-old man from Southport handcuffed to goalpost. But it was, errr, not good enough for win here.
“In future, who knows? Maybe I try again.”
Speaking at a hastily arranged press conference, City defender Joleon Lescott backed his manager’s unconventional decision, insisting that on another night it could have paid off.
He said: “To be fair, the lads were a bit confused when we came into the dressing room before the game to find the gaffer staring intently at us, pointing at a whiteboard on the wall on which he’d written ‘Step 1: Handcuff stocky 46-year-old man from Southport to goalpost – Step 2: ???? – Step 3: Win game!’
“To be fair, in the absence of Yaya Toure, there’s not much else he could have done. And, to be fair, if they hadn’t happened to have had a pair of bolt-cutters at Goodison, maybe the lad would have saved Gibson’s shot.
“To be fair, he’d have been handcuffed to Tim Howard’s post as we’d switched ends by that point, but I think my point – something about ‘narrow margins’ or the like – stands.”
The England international added: “To be fair.”