Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has hit back at questions raised over his tactical decisions.
The Italian drew criticism after the English champions plummeted to the foot of their Champions League group with a 3-1 defeat to Ajax on Wednesday.
City defender Micah Richards claimed in the aftermath that the players were confused having been asked to switch to a back three during the game, stating it was "not something that we've worked on a lot" and that "the players prefer a 4-4-2."
But Mancini said: "If you are a top player, it's not important which system you use. If you don't understand, you can't play for a top team.
"I don't want to speak about Micah because I don't think he said this. He answered questions. It's not important. I understand you should write about this, but for me it's not important what Micah said after the game.
"The players know the system. When you are on the bench and 2-1 away, the manager should do something from the bench. We wanted to play more offensively and we conceded a third because of a mistake."
City must now win their final three games to stand any realistic chance of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League, and Mancini has described that as being a 'miracle' scenario.
However, he does not feel it is a time to just give up, saying: "This is an important season for us.
"If we allow one defeat to alter that we would be really weak.
"Strong teams can lose a game but it is important you understand the reasons, and what mistakes were made.
"You can learn from this and improve for the next game."