Mancini defends "incredible" Barry

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has defended midfielder Gareth Barry after he was at the receiving end of a barrage of criticism.Controversial Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton had earlier compared Barry’s pace to that of a “tortoise” in an interview with French magazine, So Foot.

The former Man City midfielder went on to question the ability of Barry, who captained England in their friendly win over Ghana last month.

“Barry’s got a very good agent. He’s also discreet and always agrees with the manager. He’s like the guy who sits in the front row and listens to the teacher. I certainly don’t lose any sleep when I play against him,” Barton said.

“Did you see the game against Germany at the World Cup? If you watch the fourth goal, when (Mesut) Oezil was up against Barry, it was like the hare and the tortoise.”

But Mancini has responded, claiming that Barry is a “fantastic” player while Barton is merely a “good player”, also stating that every manager would want a player of his quality.

“Gareth Barry for me is a fantastic man. As a player, he is an incredible player, he works very hard, always 100 percent, he doesn’t speak but works and works for every game. I think that all managers want a player like Gareth,” Mancini said.

“I think that Barton is a good player, but I think that Gareth Barry is a fantastic player, I can only say this, the other situation is not important for me.”

Mancini’s side, fresh from thrashing Sunderland 5-0 last weekend, travel to Anfield on Monday to face a Liverpool side looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at the hands of West Brom.

And Mancini believes his side are in the right shape to maintain their quest for a top four finish

He added: “I think we always had a good spirit and desire. Maybe we had one month when we were really tired because we had injured players.”

“At the moment it’s good, I think it’s important we continue (to have desire) if we want to continue to win and we should start with Liverpool.”

City will have to make do without Micah Richards (hamstring), Jerome Boateng (knee) and Kolo Toure (suspended) for Monday night’s clash.