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Dec 23, 2012

Mancini concerned by late finishes

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has urged his side to take more advantage of their chances in front of goal after Gareth Barry's injury time header rescued a 1-0 win over Reading on Saturday.

• Jolly: Barry sparks Royals' rage
• Blog: City wake from nightmare

The Royals looked set for an upset with scores locked at 0-0 in the 90th minute, but David Silva's cross found Barry at the far post to keep City in touch with league leaders Manchester United.

It was the fourth time this season that City have scored the winning goal in the 87th minute or later and while he was relieved with the three points, Mancini believes the Premier League champions are lacking a killer instinct in the first half of matches.

"It's more important to score early on in games - my heart is not strong for these late goals," he said. "I think that we deserved to win but when you are in the last two or three minutes it can be difficult if you don't score in the first half when you have lots of chances.

"You have to be strong because they defended really well with lots of players behind the ball and we didn't find the space to play. In the end I'm happy with this victory."

Reading failed to move closer to safety and remain at the bottom of the ladder, but Mancini denies that his side underestimated the visitors who conceded five goals against Arsenal on Monday.

"Our attitude was good, we kept our concentration until the end - we tried until the last second, in this game it's important that we play well like we did in the first half," he said. "I told the guys before the game, maybe Reading conceded a lot of goals in their last game but they were excellent against Everton when I saw them."

After scoring his first goal of the season, Barry admitted that City were concerned about slipping further behind United and dropping points at home for the third consecutive match.

"I'm relieved and delighted at the same time, it was a tough afternoon," he told Manchester City's website. "To get a goal that late you start to worry that we are going to drop some more points here at the Etihad, but it was great to get the three points because it wasn't a perfect afternoon by any means.

"We scored so many late goals last season and a few this season. Them late goals can be so important at the end of the season so hopefully that will be another one."

Reading favoured a defensive style and it almost paid dividends for Brian McDermott's side, although City have become accustomed to conservative opposition at the Etihad.

"It is difficult especially when you dont get the breakthrough early," he said. "The longer the game went on the more you could see the Reading players were raring with confidence, they started to believe they could keep us out for the 90 minutes and even towards the end they were maybe thinking they could get the winning goal.

"But we've experienced that a lot of times here at the Etihad, they put nine or ten players behind the goal and it can be tough."

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