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Manchester City Outcast Reveals: Manuel Pellegrini Shattered My Belief

Forgotten man reveals poor relationship with City boss.Manchester City defender Micah Richards, currently on loan at Fiorentina, has revealed how manager Manuel Pellegrini shattered his belief at the Etihad Stadium.

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In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, the former England international explained that he never felt he had the trust of Pellegrini since he took over at the club last year, having previously been more of a regular under Roberto Mancini.

Richards had been with City since the age of 14 and played a key role in their Premier League title win of 2012, but a long spell out through injury allowed Pablo Zabaleta to become first choice at right-back.

The dismissal of Mancini was another blow for Richards, who has criticised Pellegrini for making him into something of a ‘scapegoat’ at the Etihad Stadium, explaining that he felt unfairly treated as he was taken off at half time of an FA Cup game against Watford last season.

Having fallen out of favour for big games in the Premier League and Champions League, Richards felt he deserved a chance to play and prove himself in the cup, but admits this decision from the Chilean tactician shattered his belief that he could get back into the team.

“The lowest moment was against Watford,” he said. “At half-time we were losing two-nil. I really don’t want to pass the blame to other players but everyone could see I wasn’t the problem.

“But Pellegrini brought me and [Jack] Rodwell off at half-time. I thought: ‘I’m becoming a scapegoat here.’ I’ve not always played well for City, but I’d never been the scapegoat, coming off at half-time when in my head I thought I was having a decent game. It was weird, unnatural, it had never happened to me before and it felt like no matter what I did it wasn’t good enough any more.

“That was a turning point. The manager did try to explain it to me. He said he didn’t want to rush my fitness, but I wasn’t playing in the Premier League, I wasn’t playing in the Champions League, so at least, in the FA Cup against Watford at home, give me 90 minutes. After that, my belief was shattered.”

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