Roberto Mancini doesn’t believe Manchester City deserve to be 15 points behind rivals United.
Having lost the title to City on goal difference on the final day of last season, the Reds have been in ruthless form this season. A 1-0 success at Sunderland was their 25th of the campaign, becoming the first side to record this number of wins from their opening 30 fixtures.
By contrast, the Blues have often struggled to find their best form this term, drawing eight times and losing four. This has allowed Sir Alex Ferguson’s men to build up a staggering lead of 15 points, and with just nine matches remaining of the campaign, a record title number 20 looks inevitable.
But whilst Mancini accepts the crown he won in such dramatic fashion last season is heading back to Old Trafford, he feels the table doesn’t quite reflect the difference between the two teams. In fact, speaking ahead of the derby clash next Monday, he thinks it should be less than half this number.
“We can’t think we are 15 points behind because for me, the gap is not correct. Fifteen points is too much. I think it is six or seven, not 15,” the Italian coach is quoted as saying on the Sky Sports website. “We showed this in the first derby when we deserved to win and lost.
“You can play well, but if you don’t score and concede, you lose. They have won a lot of difficult games to stay on top and they deserve to win the title for this. This is the mentality you have when you win everything for 20 years and you know if you don’t play well it’s important to win.”
Although City have dropped 10 points from the last 27 available, including losing two of their last five outings, they will travel to their neighbours on the back of a resounding 4-0 win over Newcastle United. But having been embarrassed 6-1 in the corresponding fixture last season, Ferguson’s side will be desperate for revenge as they close on reclaiming the title.