Manchester City defender Micah Richards is widely expected to join Aston Villa on a free transfer when his contract expires in a few weeks.

He has taken one parting shot at his current club after saying that they should have retained Roberto Mancini as their manager. The Inter Milan boss led the club to their first Premier League title, but he was sacked from his job in poor conditions. For several days, Mancini was a dead man walking before City confirmed his departure. Apart from the way his exit was handled, Richards also says that the club should not have sacked him in the first place.

Mancini was replaced by Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, who went on to win the double of the league title and the League Cup in his first season at the club. His second campaign at the Etihad stadium, though, was extremely poor after the club finished almost 10 points adrift of leaders Chelsea. They finished the season without any trophies too. Richards is returning from a season-long loan spell at Fiorentina, but a permanent move to the Italian club never looked on the cards. The former England defender was always going to make a return to his home country. Villa are providing the route for the same.

“I think some players are too soft.I played under Stuart Pearce at City, and if you didn’t do what he said you’d get called all the names under the sun.Now a manager does that and it’s ‘You can’t disrespect me like that’.He’s the manager and every player should respect that. He did go overboard occasionally.The most extreme examples were with Mario. But they were like a husband and wife. And Mario still provided the assist that won us the league, so there you go,” said Richards.