What the papers say
A look at what is making the back-page headlines in today's national newspapers:
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THE TIMES: Roberto Mancini appeared to show the first signs of strain before Manchester City's must-win Champions League tie against Ajax this evening after a rare loss of temper in public yesterday. Also: Peter Odemwingie, hitherto, without a goal since the opening day of the season, scored twice last night to enable West Bromwich Albion to climb to fifth place in the Barclays Premier League table after their fifth home win in six matches and leave Southampton bottom.
THE INDEPENDENT: The 2015 Rugby World Cup in England risks being devalued by European clubs preventing players from Fiji and other Pacific nations from representing their countries. Also: Gordon Strachan has emerged as the favourite to take over as Scotland manager after Craig Levein's turbulent three-year spell was ended yesterday.
THE GUARDIAN: Roberto Mancini has angrily demanded respect as the Italian offered an impassioned defence of his tenure as Manchester City manager ahead of tonight's must-win Champions League visit of Ajax. City have only one point from their opening three group games and are conscious that if other results go against them even victory in the final three would not be enough. Also: Jenson Button, the Formula One world champion three years ago, has described his McLaren car as the worst he has had in three years at the team.
DAILY TELEGRAPH: This was supposed to be Andy Murray's triumphant return to home soil after the glorious events of New York. This was supposed to be the moment when the British public saluted the new Fred Perry and rejoiced in his glory. Yet only when the Scot had come from a set down to earn a steely-nerved 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory against Tomas Berdych did the love start to flow. Also: Gareth Barry claims Manchester City are still fighting to win the Champions League, rather than fighting with each other, despite admitting that the club have been "found out" in this season's competition.
DAILY MIRROR: Roberto Mancini lost his customary cool after his commitment to Manchester City was called into question. Also: Andre Santos has apologised to his Arsenal team-mates for his shirt swap embarrassment.
THE SUN: Andre Santos last night broke his silence on the Robin van Persie shirt storm to say sorry to Arsenal fans. Also: Yaya Toure admits there are regular rows among all the big egos in the Manchester City dressing room.
DAILY MAIL: Chelsea stars fear a backlash from referees over their race abuse claims against Mark Clattenburg, who was yesterday removed from the match list for a second week. Also: Andy Murray has faced several moments of truth this year, and another couple came along when he clawed his way to two match points against Tomas Berdych in a desperately tight opening encounter at the O2 Arena.
DAILY EXPRESS: Gareth Barry says that Manchester City's chastened stars are determined to prove boss Roberto Mancini wrong. Also: Chelsea officials are angry with Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger for weighing in with their opinions on the Mark Clattenburg affair.
DAILY STAR: Mario Balotelli has risked another bust-up with Roberto Mancini after deciding to miss the hectic Christmas programme to be with his new-born child. Also: Arsene Wenger has banned Andre Santos from ever swapping his shirt early again.