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No guarantees for Robinho

"How much a player cost is not important," said Mancini. "What you pay only matters when you are in the act of buying someone.

"The important thing after that is the player working hard and playing well.

"Before the game at Middlesbrough, Robinho had a problem with one of his muscles and he didn't train for two or three days.

"But it is possible he will play tomorrow, although I do feel sorry for the attacking players because I have five or six really good ones and I must decide who is going to be on the bench."
>>Mancini on Robinho.

Robinho finds himself in a tricky situation at the moment. With the form of others, plus his own inconsistent showing he doesn't deserve a starting place, yet without significant playing time he isn't likely to get himself out of the funk that he is in.

As we are witnessing with Carlos Tevez, there is no substitute for a consistent run of games to find your rythm and rediscover your form and Robinho's best football came when he had precisely that.

Competition is so fierce though, and the stakes so high with important games coming thick and fast that Robinho isn't likely to get the opportunity of regular football. A great player to have on the bench of course, but whilst he is not match fit (and looking a little overweight?) are we going to be able to get the best out of him? Or does it even matter given the options we have in attacking positions.