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Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is adamant top players should be able to fit into any system - and insisted only weak teams would collapse after one defeat.
City's Champions League hopes are hanging by a thread after a chaotic encounter with Ajax in Amsterdam midweek, which the Blues lost, despite taking the lead, amid recriminations over Mancini's formation.
With his side losing 2-1, Mancini hauled off Joleon Lescott to play three defenders, and they immediately conceded again.
In his post-match interview Micah Richards claimed his team-mates did not like the system and indicated it was being used under orders from Mancini but under sufferance from the players.
"If you are a top player it is not important what system you use," said Mancini.
"If you don't understand a system like that, you cannot play for a top team.
"What Micah said is not important. He answered a question. I understand people want to write about it, but to me it doesn't matter.
"Maybe Micah doesn't know because it his first game for two and a half months."
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