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By ESPN Staff

Mancini calls for end to drinking culture at City

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has warned his young players to curb their drinking habits in order to prolong their careers, with the Italian advising them that "it is better they go with a woman than a drink".

City goalkeeper Joe Hart, 23, was pictured enjoying some down time in Spain earlier this month before meeting up with the England squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro.

The Italian coach finds the English drinking culture difficult to understand, claiming it would not happen in his homeland, and has spoken to Hart.

"For a young player it is important to always behave well. I can understand sometimes things can happen on holiday but it is important for them to always behave.

"I have spoken to them about this. What I said was private, but it is better they go with a woman than a drink. It is better. That is what I did when I was a player."

But even with a focus on women rather than alcohol, City winger Adam Johnson found himself appearing in several newspapers last month after bidding £12,000 with team-mate Micah Richards for a date with infamous English glamour model Jordan at a charity auction.

And Mancini picked out both Hart and Johnson as examples of players who need to change their behaviour, especially since cementing their places as part of Fabio Capello's England set-up.

"In Italy the players don't have this culture to drink after the game. It is so different but I understand it is part of the English culture and it is not easy to change.

"Adam Johnson and Joe Hart are young, they are playing in the national team and they must change. It's very frustrating for me to see this behaviour because I don't understand it.

"I don't understand why a player must drink after a game. Okay, maybe one drink is okay but three, four, five, six - drinking until they are drunk - this is not good.

"One day when I first started in Leicester I went with my team-mates after training to a pub and the 10 or 12 of us drank I don't know how many beers. That wouldn't happen in Italy after training.

"We have rules at City that the players shouldn't drink in the build-up to games. But it is better if the player changes this themselves rather than me enforce it.''

Mancini believes players who drink excessively when they are young will pay for it in later years.

"It is good for their career not to do this,'' he said. "Okay, they are young now but when you are 28 or 29 you pay the price. I don't know if you remember Pietro Vierchowod who played until he was 40 for me at 100%.

"[Javier] Zanetti at Inter Milan is 37 but is still the best player, always, because he had a good period in his life and he looked after himself.

"Maybe players in England don't play so long but also it is hard because you play every three days and if you don't have good behaviour off the pitch, it will be difficult to maintain a top level. That is why for me there can be no drinking before games.

"When you play every three days you must have 48 hours to recover. If you drink, if you don't sleep, you can't do it. If you are young, okay. But in one, two or three years, that will change.''


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