Friday 15 December 2017

Mancini backing city to banish blues

Italian brushes off wobble and insists side still on track for title

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini admits his team are finding life tough at the top -- but would not expect anything different.

City have led the Premier League since October, but have lost their thrilling autumn momentum and been unable to pull away from defending champions and arch-rivals Manchester United.

Mancini's men endured a particularly tough last month as they were beaten twice in the league and knocked out of both domestic cup competitions.

Their latest defeat, at Everton on Tuesday, left them ahead of United only on goal difference.

It has been suggested Mancini and his players could be buckling under the pressure but the Italian insists that is not the case as all teams encounter difficult patches.

He said: "We don't have any reason to have pressure. We never thought that we could win the title in January or February.

"The Premier League you can win at the end of April -- not now.

"It is impossible to stay on the top for five months and not have any problems.


"It will not be easy to stay there, especially when you fight against United. United have been used to staying on the top for 20 years."

Mancini took the unusual step of blaming himself for Tuesday's 1-0 loss at Goodison Park.

Despite his dismal record against the Toffees -- four defeats in five previous clashes with the Merseysiders -- Mancini claimed he underestimated David Moyes' side.

Mancini said: "I always want to do well and sometimes this does not happen. Against Everton I probably didn't do my job very well. The players shouldn't have pressure because they have done very well up until now.

"We have scored 60 goals and have the best defence in the Premier League.

"For us, it is important to go our own way and not think about the other teams. This championship depends only on us, not on others."

City are back in action this evening as Fulham visit the Etihad Stadium.

Captain Vincent Kompany is determined to get back to winning ways, but is taking nothing for granted.

City have already come unstuck against Fulham once this season having been held to a 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage in September.

Kompany said: "There is no such thing as a winnable game. You can win or lose every game. But if we prepare the way we have to, I think we are always going to start as favourites, and we need to maximise that."

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