No extra heat on me: Mancini
ROBERTO Mancini heads into tonight's Carling Cup semi-final with Liverpool insisting he has not been put under any additional pressure by Manchester City's mega-rich owners.
City will be contesting their third semi-final in as many seasons, and the first that does not involve Manchester United, at the Etihad Stadium this evening.
Unlike many of his Premier League counterparts, Mancini has named strong teams throughout the competition.
Yet the Blues manager insists this was only because of the players at his disposal rather than through a demand from his Abu Dhabi-based bosses.
“I am not under pressure from the owners,” he said.
“They are interested that we win everything if it is possible. But I don't have any pressure from them.
“Maybe in England it is the last trophy. But when you are there, you want to win. And if we win it, we would have a lot confidence to win others.”
For the second time in eight days, City find themselves facing a Liverpool side who have been granted an extra 48 hours rest due to a quirk in the fixture list.
It did not cause the Blues many problems in the Premier League, as they romped to a 3-0 triumph at the Etihad Stadium.
However, this evening may be a different story as skipper Vincent Kompany begins a four-match ban and David Silva, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko all face late fitness tests.
The Kompany situation leaves a particularly sour taste for Mancini, who remains convinced his captain did nothing to warrant dismissal when he made his fateful tackle on Nani 12 minutes into the FA Cup derby.
“In 30 years I have never seen a sending off for a tackle like this,” he said.
“For me there was no danger.
“If there was danger, Nani was there, he was the player near the ball. He would have said something about it. He didn't say anything.
“Last week I watched three or four players in the Premier League who made a tackle worse than Vinny, with the same referee. He did nothing. No yellow card. Nothing.”
In addition to tomorrow night's game, Kompany will also miss the return leg at Anfield in a fortnight, plus crucial Premier League encounters with Wigan and Tottenham in between.
It places huge responsibility upon the shoulders of Montenegro defender Stefan Savic, a £6m arrival from Partizan Belgrade in the summer, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Sunday having started a single Premier League game for his new club.