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Mancini fight after Robinho says ‘I’m off’

BOSS Roberto Mancini insists he wants Robinho to stay at Manchester City – even though the Brazilian striker says he is desperate to leave and head back home.

The £32.5m hitman seemed to confirm rumours that yesterday’s game at Scunthorpe would be his last for City after telling a Brazilian radio station that he was ordered out by the club’s directors and was set to join former club Santos on loan.

Robinho appeared to wave goodbye to City fans after celebrating his first start since Boxing Day with the fourth goal in a 4-2 victory at Glanford Park.

But Mancini insists he knows nothing of Robinho’s imminent departure and says he wants the striker to stay and fight for his place. “Hopefully in the end Robinho will stay here. In the next day the situation can change but at the moment he stays here and I am very happy for him,” the Italian said.

“I hope he will stay here but it is important he will stay here happy and enjoy it. He is a very good player. I think he is enjoying Manchester.

“I think one player can stay in a squad only if he is happy – if he wants to play every game and if he wants to work every day. That is most important because the players and manager must be happy.”

A delegation from Santos are due to meet City chiefs this week to thrash out a deal, while Benfica are also interested in luring the ex-Real Madrid star. In a pre-match interview with Radio Bandeirantes, Robinho said: “Money is not everything. First thing is that I am going through a bad period. Here, Mancini said that I would play one game and another no. I didn’t accept that and told him so. It’s a World Cup year.”

He went on: “The directors all agree that it’s better to send me out on loan. It would be exceptional to return to Santos. Playing for Santos would help me in my path to the World Cup. It is my home, I know everyone.”

Robinho made his mark on a topsy-turvy cup tie which saw City scrape past a plucky Iron side. Martin Petrov rifled home the opener on just three minutes, only for Paul Hayes to deservedly equalise for the hosts.

Nedum Onuoha then slid home a second for City before Sylvinho made it 3-1 with a stunning strike from 30 yards. Dedryck Boyata’s own goal set up a tense finale but Robinho had the last word with a cool finish late on.