Manchester City are monitoring Antonio Cassano's deteriorating situation at Sampdoria. The Italian striker has been axed from the first team by Samp coach Gigi del Neri, which is sure to alert City boss Roberto Mancini. There were reports of a training ground row between the striker and Del Neri.

Del Neri said: "Cassano will not be selected on account of a technical decision. There has not been any clash. I need more physicality and less quality up front away from home.

"We have spoken and I have explained my ideas to him, but there has not been a clash, we have had a calm chat, as men.

"I am sorry about the information that has come out on what happened. This damages our image and the atmosphere around the club.

"I want strikers who know how to press. It's a normal choice for a Coach and it's normal on the part of a player to accept it, like Antonio has done.

"My decision has been taken in accordance with the club."