From the back pages, February 23: Man City boss Mancini hits back at criticism

Roberto Mancini, Manchester City manager
Roberto Mancini, Manchester City manager

ROBERTO Mancini has launched an impassioned defence of his record at Manchester City, amid fresh claims he could get the axe. Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini has emerged as the latest name in the frame to take over from Mancini, should the City hierarchy decide on a change of manager. Mancini is under pressure, with City having slipped 12 points behind Manchester United in the title race, along with their failure to make it out of the group stage in the Champions League. (Daily Mirror)

MANCHESTER UNITED are working on a stunning £55m deal to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to Old Trafford. United aim to piece together a complex financial package which will become the new model for big contracts in European football. (Daily Star)

SWANSEA manager Michael Laudrup has refused to talk about the rumoured interest from his former club Real Madrid ahead of his current side’s Capital One Cup final against Bradford at Wembley. Laudrup has won many fans after the way he took over at the Swans from successful coach Brendan Rodgers last summer to take the Welsh club to the brink of their first ever major trophy success. (Daily Express)

JONATHAN TROTT admits he is going to have to up his game to see off the challenge of Joe Root. The 22-year-old is breathing down the neck of England’s senior batsmen. (Daily Star)