- Premier League
Mancini not feeling title pressure
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says the tough times he experienced as Inter Milan boss will see him comfortably handle the pressure of the Premier League title race.
Mancini has City sitting at the top of the table, alongside rivals Manchester United, though questions have been asked of the club's ability to meet the lofty expectations they have set for themselves. City have led the table since October but have been unable to shake the challenge of United.
Defeat at Everton on Tuesday left them top only on goal difference and came at the end of a disappointing January in which they also lost at Sunderland and went out of two cup competitions.
Mancini remarkably accepted all the blame for the Goodison Park loss but, after delivering three titles at Inter Milan - including ending a 17-year Scudetto drought - insists he is far from losing his nerve.
"There doesn't exist a place like Inter Milan, where you can really be under pressure. After Inter Milan, you can manage every team.
"Inter Milan has a big history like United. When you are a manager there you have a pressure every day, every minute. After Inter Milan you can't have pressure.
"It was really important for me, the experience with Inter Milan. Inter are a top team and you need to do everything well every day, every game.
"All the journalists and all the newspapers say the manager has made mistakes every game. It is so different from here. So, for this reason, after that, you can't have pressure.''
Mancini said some weeks ago his side would be on course for the title if they emerged from their tough January programme - when they would be without Yaya and Kolo Toure due to the African Nations Cup - unscathed.
That has not been quite the case and the situation has been compounded by a series of costly refereeing decisions and suspensions for Vincent Kompany and Mario Balotelli. Yet Mancini believes if his team can just hold firm their position could be a lot stronger in a few weeks' time.
"We knew December and January would be crucial months because we were losing important players to the African Nations Cup and could have players injured.
"I didn't think we could have players banned for four games - but this can happen. I said if we are on the top after January we would win the title - but not without problems. It is not easy to beat United.
"It is important for us to stay on the top now for this difficult moment. If we are on top after this difficult moment, what has happened with us in January can probably happen to other teams. Every team has a difficult moment."