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Vieira 'must improve'

"Patrick could improve," said the manager, who will now be without Pablo Zabaleta for Saturday's trip to Burnley and the following week's home clash with Birmingham after the defender picked up a two-match ban for his tenth booking of the season against the Latics.

"Patrick could be an important player in the final weeks of the season. He didn't play against Everton because I wanted him against Wigan."

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Interesting comments considering that Vieira is very much Mancini's 'guy', in that he brought him to the club with a specific purpose and role in mind, yet, his appearance at Sunderland aside, he has failed to meet expectation.

 

Concerns over his lack of pace given his age and time out of the Premier League have been very real during his few appearances, and he has yet to truly dominate a game in the manner many were hoping.

However, the central midfield area could look a lot thinner over recent weeks depending on Nigel de Jong's tackling in the next two games (with Pablo Zabaleta already out, so Vieira could be forced to step in and play a significant role in the side during the run in, which is precisely what Mancini signed him for.

Perfect timing?