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Man City boss Mancini admits surprise with Bridge decision

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini admits Wayne Bridge didn't consult him before announcing his withdrawal from England duty.

Mancini is confident Bridge can handle the pressure of today's trip to Chelsea, even though he had no inkling of the bombshell his full-back was about to land with his short statement on Thursday.

"I am sorry for Wayne and for England because it is important for any player to play for the national team," said Mancini.

"He didn't speak to me before he made the decision. I don't know what has changed, but he has changed his decision because I thought that he would play for the national team.

"But I respect what he has done.

"It is not affecting the club or the dressing room.

"He is a strong character, who has a strong mentality. Wayne must only think about the game because it is an important match for us."

It could be argued Bridge needs to face his demons. Once the game is over then Fabio Capello might get his wish and the former Southampton star will reverse his decision to turn his back on the England cause.

However, if Bridge remains resolute, it would seem somewhat unfair that he should be the one missing out rather than Terry, who has been stripped of the captaincy by Capello but is set to be named in the squad for next Wednesday's meeting with African Nations Cup winners Egypt.

"It is important for any player to play for their national team and to go to the World Cup so it must have been difficult for him to make this decision," reaffirmed Mancini. "But it is difficult for me to speak about this whole situation.

"I have respect for Wayne and his family, so I don't want to say any more."

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Tribal Football Staff

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