Mancini: I’ll cheer on Utd in Madrid

I have a say

Posted Sunday, February 03, 2013 by The Sun

Mancini: I’ll cheer on Utd in MadridROBERTO MANCINI admits he is tempted to take a red-and-white flag to support Manchester United in the Bernabeu next week.

The Manchester City boss hopes the league leaders will be distracted by their Champions League showdown with Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid.

He feels it will boost City’s title hopes if Alex Ferguson’s men can continue in the competition for a few more rounds yet.

But Mancini knows all about the Spanish giants, having played against them twice in the group stages earlier this season.

And he admits United will need all the help they can get.

Asked if he wanted United to beat Real, Mancini said: “Yes, it would be another two games for them. I will go there and support them with a red-and-white flag.

“But playing Real is tough — they are one of the best in the world. Them and Barca. They have incredible players, fantastic history. It will be very hard for United to beat them because they are a really top club.”

City’s workload for the remainder of the season looks much lighter than their rivals’, with only the Premier League and FA Cup to occupy their thoughts.

And although they face Liverpool today needing a win to keep tabs on their neighbours, Mancini says nobody at the Etihad is panicking.

Their amazing final-day triumph last season proves there is a lot of football still to be played and it is likely to prey on United’s minds right until the end.

Mancini said: “If we could do it last year when we were eight points behind with six games to go, it’s not impossible that we can recover this with 14 games left.

“We could recover five or six points and still lose at the end but we’ll do everything to win this championship. United have good experience but anything can happen right up until the last game.

“And we have a good memory of what happened last year.

“When you are seven points behind, it’s difficult to recover but we’re a good team and playing well. We’ve also started to work better with the defenders.”

City’s Scrooge-like defence have yet to concede a goal in 2013 — although that will be given a stiff test today by Luis Suarez and former City player Daniel Sturridge.

But goals at the other end have not been flowing readily for Mancini’s remaining forwards Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez.

The trio have managed only 30 between them this term — with Dzeko on 11, Aguero on 10 and Tevez weighing in with just nine despite a blistering start to the season.

None of them has found the net in the last three matches — but Mancini still feels they can fire City to glory.

He said: “I don’t know why they are not scoring as many. We’re also missing Mario’s goals. Last season, he scored 13 in the league and this season, he only got one.

“It’s clear that we’re missing seven, eight, nine goals and if we had got these, we probably would have four or five points more.

“We are disappointed because we lost two points against QPR but there are some games when you can attack for 100 minutes and you don’t score.”

Yet with the likes of David Silva and Yaya Toure — who returns from international duty later this month — Mancini is confident they will not go short.

The Toure brothers will again be missing — and probably for next Saturday’s trip to Southampton — but will be back for the FA Cup tie with Leeds in a fortnight.

Mancini said: “We have three strikers but we have two or three other offensive players and have Silva and Yaya to come back.”



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